If you live in Florida or Texas and you’re 65 or over, you can get in line for a COVID vaccine at a mall, stadium, or drive-thru center.
Though, you may have to wait for hours, but being in line is better than being in the dark.
That’s where most New Yorkers find themselves — desperate to get the vaccine, and with no way to sign up.
It may be months before they can.
Tragically, it’s a problem in many other states too.
The first vaccines were shipped to the states on December 13, but most are sitting on shelves unused, while some 2,600 people per day die from COVID nationally.
State and local officials — including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New york City Mayor Bill De Blasio here in the Empire State — are frankly showing a depraved indifference to human life as they play politics over who gets vaccine priority.
The public should demand that these officials open up mass vaccination centers and get the lifesaving shots into our arms.
Mayor De Blasio is boasting that one million city residents will be vaccinated by the end of January. But as of Monday, only a handful of sites have been opened for healthcare workers only.
The mayor says he plans to send an e-mail to city employees asking them to volunteer to administer the vaccines.
De Blasio should be asking Cuomo to call in the National Guard to set up and operate vaccination sites. West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland are already using the Guard and turning armories into vaccine clinics. The Mayor should be treating vaccination like a D-Day invasion in the war against the virus.
Or, like the city responded to the challenge of smallpox in 1947.
With no warning, smallpox — a deadly disease thought to have been eradicated — was brought to New York by an ill traveler.
Understand, all it takes to spread smallpox is a cough, sneeze, or touch — just like COVID-19. Back then, the city health department swung into action and vaccinated over six million residents in one month. First come, first serve And it worked.
Only two New Yorkers died.
Compare that to thousands expected to die in the coming months because they couldn’t get the vaccine.
De Blasio says the city would be moving faster if the state loosens regulations on who can receive the vaccine.
He’s got a point.
Right now, the state is limiting the vaccine to healthcare workers and long term care residents, and next in line will be "essential workers" — mostly from unions — and people over 75. That means seniors ages 65 to 74 and adults with critical health problems will wait several months.
The Cuomo administration is adamant about that schedule, even though two-thirds of vaccines are unused.
That’s a mistake. States doling out vaccines in tiny increments are letting people die needlessly and delaying herd immunity, when enough people are vaccinated to stop the virus.
The invasion of a new, more contagious strain of COVID is another reason to vaccinate widely, advises former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
It’s likely to become the dominant strain, increasing everyone’s risk. He advises "moving more quickly into a general vaccination program" for people 65 and up.
Will Cuomo listen?
He’s shown a callous lack of interest.
When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested a vaccine rollout plan, New York sent in 86 pages of blather. No specifics on where the shots will be given, and who would administer them when hospital staff are already stretched.
No real plan, yet we’ve known for months the vaccines were coming.
But when the Buffalo Bills made it to the playoffs, Cuomo jumped into action, charging the state health department to come up with a precision plan to open the stadium at limited capacity.
Meanwhile, next Saturday, when the Bills play, another 150 New Yorkers will likely lose their lives to COVID.
New Yorkers should be screaming bloody murder at the top of their lungs about the vaccination delay.
Because that’s what it is.
So should Americans in many other states.
The problem is not a shortage of vaccines.
It is a shortage of urgency and commitment on the part of state and local officials.
When California’s Governor Gavin Newsom was confronted with the embarrassing fact that a staggering 80% of vaccines are still unused in his state, while a Californian dies every three minutes from COVID-19.
Newsom said we ought to be "humble" about what can be achieved.
The public does not need a lecture about being humble.
They need action now. Their lives are at stake.
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., is Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Read more of Betsy McCaughey's reports — Here Now.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.