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Proposed Criminal Law Could Penalize New Yorkers For Skipping COVID Vaccine Lines

It could soon become illegal for companies or individuals to sell or administer coronavirus vaccinations to New Yorkers who are trying to bypass the line, CNBC reported.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing on Monday (Jan. 4) that anyone letting people skip the line already faces the loss of their license. The upcoming legislation would also make such an offense criminal if it is approved by the state legislature.

“This vaccine can be like gold to some people,” Cuomo said at the press briefing. “If there’s any fraud in the distribution — you’re letting people get ahead of other people, or friends or family, or they’re selling the vaccine — you’ll lose your license, but I do believe it should be criminal, and I’m going to propose a law to that effect.”

People who presently work in healthcare or reside in nursing homes or assisted living facilities are the only people eligible for coronavirus vaccinations.

A little more than a week ago, ParCare Community Health Network in New York faced accusations that it misrepresented itself to the state’s department of health in order to get the vaccine.

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement, per CNBC, that the clinic may have “diverted [the vaccine] to members of the public — contrary to the state’s plan to administer it first to frontline healthcare workers, as well as nursing home residents and staffers.”

Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations are being administered, but New York hospitals are being told to step up the process. Cuomo said that hospitals could be hit with penalties of up to $100,000 if their share of COVID-19 vaccines aren’t administered by the end of this week.

So far, New York got over 774,000 vaccine doses — but only 237,000 shots were administered as of Jan. 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, per CNBC. Hospitals with the vaccine administered roughly 46 percent over the past three weeks.

“This is a management issue of the hospitals. They have to move the vaccine, and they have to move the vaccine faster,” Cuomo said.

President-elect Joe Biden said he plans to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, but it will require congressional funding. As of Dec. 29, about 2 million people had received their first COVID-19 vaccine; the goal was 20 million by the end of the year.

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