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Just Back From DC, Schumer Pushes Fed-Backed COVID Vaccine Distribution, Testing, Tracing & Mitigation—All Critical To Public Health Amid Pandemic; Hard Fought Wins To Help Ensure Our Health In Challenging Time 

Schumer: Local Upstate Governments Should Not Be Out A SINGLE DOLLAR To Distribute New COVID Vax, Test Or Trace For Virus; New Fed Funds Mean Help’s On The Way

Just back from Washington, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said about $800 million dollars for Upstate NY & NYS, separate from New York City, is now on the way to help ensure the coronavirus vaccine and other coronavirus care efforts will be available here. Schumer said local Upstate governments should not be on the hook for a single dollar related to the costs of distributing the new vaccine, along with testing or tracing for the virus. Schumer said these just-locked fed funds will help to ensure New Yorkers can access the vaccine at local hospitals.. Schumer detailed the federal dollars as he explained what this means for public health and those most at risk to the virus across New York State.  

“The biggest thing we want to ensure about the coronavirus vaccine is universal access—no barriers—for New Yorkers,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Part of the way we do that, and to ensure a free vaccine is available here in New York, centers on the federal funds we just secured in the COVID relief bill voted on late last night. Communities throughout Upstate will get a sizable share of over $775 million dollars to do these things, and I am here to say the money is on the way, and to get the word out about what happens next for localities as they ramp up with distribution.”

“All in, New York communities and the state will be getting about $800 million to distribute the vaccine, test, trace, and for any other public health initiatives related to COVID. This can mean nursing home safety, home care, any sort of mitigation—we worked to get this language and the funding into the bill, and now it is time to get the word out so great public hospitals, and all our New York hospitals, can succeed in the collective goal of public health,” Schumer added.  

For Upstate New York and New York State, Schumer detailed the exact dollar breakdowns, now that the bill has passed:

$1.55 Billion – Vaccine, Testing, and Tracing, and Flexible Local Health Funding. The breakdown means Upstate New York will get a sizable share of $775 million dollars.

  • $127M for NYS for vaccine distribution (Upstate to get a sizable share)
  • $648M for NYS testing, tracing, isolation support and COVID mitigation (Upstate to get a sizable share)

“This is a start, it’s not the entirety of what we need—this entire bill was not that—but this is a down payment amid an ongoing pandemic,” Schumer said. “State and local governments should not be out a single dollar to distribute the new COVID vaccine, test or trace for the virus, and these new federal funds mean a measure of help is on the way to support that endeavor.”

Nationally, Schumer said the just-passed relief bill provides essential funding for vaccine procurement and distribution, providing roughly $20 billion for manufacturing, production and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary supplies, nearly $9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution and more than $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile. This includes $300 million specifically directed to high-risk and underserved populations for vaccine distribution, including communities of color.

The bill provides more than $22 billion, all sent directly to states, for testing, contact tracing and COVID mitigation programs. Of this total, $2.5 billion will be distributed for targeted use in high-risk and underserved populations, including communities of color, like here in New York.

Sufficient funding for vaccine distribution has been a key priority for President-elect Biden, who, according to reports, has pledged to oversee the administration of 100 million doses of COVID vaccines in his first 100 days in office. Biden has said publicly that without proper funding for distribution, the efforts described above could slow or be delayed. Schumer says we do not want that to happen, and why we must continue to assess funding needs in real time.

Public health officials have said the goal is to provide vaccinations to as many as 20 million Americans by the first week of January.