NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday night ripped Gov. Andrew Cuomo for threatening to fine hospitals that don't administer their remaining doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week, arguing state rules are constraining city hospitals.

"That's just arrogance," de Blasio said of Cuomo's threat in his weekly "Mondays with the Mayor" interview on Inside City Hall with anchor Errol Louis. "Does he think that our health care professionals are uninterested in vaccinating people? How about trusting the people that have been our heroes? … Respect and trust our health care professionals. They are the people that do the work. They are the people that know best."

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination has been behind schedule nationwide, including in New York City, as the campaign enters its fourth week.

Plagued by logistical issues, about 443,000 coronavirus vaccines have been delivered to the city as of January 4, but only 110,241 people have received their first dose — a clip of about 25%. Statewide, hospitals so far have only administered approximately 46% of their available vaccine dosages.

As a result, hospitals — particularly the Health & Hospitals system in the city — are under added pressure to administer their remaining vaccine doses. They can face fines of up to $100,000 if they do not use all their dosages by the end of this week, according to the governor. And moving forward, facilities must use all vaccine dosages within seven days of receipt.

In his Monday night interview on NY1, the mayor — who earlier in the day announced efforts to increase the pace of vaccinations — stressed the immunization effort needs to expand to police officers, corrections officers, teachers and school staff, and others.

"First concern is the most front-line health care heroes and folks who live and work in nursing homes … But when you think about the hundreds of thousands of folks who are absolutely precious and crucial — our seniors, essential workers, cops, teachers — I want to get on to them as well and I want to keep the pace moving," de Blasio told NY1. "So if I have those folks in places, in many places where we can vaccinate a lot of people quickly and efficiently, at all hours of the day, why wouldn't we get the freedom to do that?"

While the mayor also blamed the current vaccination rate on New Yorkers' hesitance to get the vaccine, he claimed if city hospitals had the green light to vaccinate everyone who want it now, they would have done so already.

When asked if the city is lagging behind due to it needing additional staffing, de Blasio said the city is making sure it has enough personnel to expand vaccinations, including by bringing in volunteers and contractors.


This story includes reporting by Anna Lucente Sterling.


Watch the full "Mondays with the Mayor" interview above.


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