Gov Cuomo Shares COVID Numbers and Concerns About Vaccination Program

Albany, N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo giving a telephone brieifng today, said that the statewide infection rate with micro-clusters is 4.96%. He announced 66 people have died. The number of Covid-19 patients in New York hospitals increased by around 200 people, to 3,774,

He spoke about the vaccination program and said its going to be a major undertaking, and it has to be done right. He expressed some of his concerns reagrding the current plan that the Federal Government has laid out.

Some of his issues were:

(1) States need money in order to administer the plan.

(2) Federal Government needs specific plans for “Black, brown and poor communities.”

(3) Data-sharing requirements are discriminatory toward undocumented people.

Cuomo says he’s joining dozens of advocacy groups calling for the Trump administration to reverse its requirement that Health and Human Services receive data for people who receive a Covid-vaccine.

Cuomo said he is sending a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar expressing their concerns.

The full letter is below:

December 1, 2020

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write to bring attention to a very important issue concerning the upcoming vaccination process. 

Obviously, a successful program administering the vaccine is critical to the national health. But for the vaccination program to be successful, it must have the full participation of all the American people. To that end, we join with Governor Cuomo in raising concerns about the fairness and effectiveness of the current federal vaccination program. 

First, we are deeply troubled by the failure of the federal vaccination program to provide the states with adequate funding to undertake effective vaccination plans for the Black, Brown, Asian and lower-income communities that are too often underserved by private healthcare facilities. The COVID infection and death rates are significantly higher in these communities, and failure to provide these communities with an adequate vaccination program, whether by intent or effect, will further discriminate against these communities. We join with national civil rights groups such as the National Urban League and the NAACP in calling for a federally funded fair and equal vaccination program.

Second, the federal government requires that a Data Sharing Agreement be executed by state governments before commencing the vaccination program. The current Data Sharing Agreement provided by the federal government requires identification of each person who is vaccinated - the federal government suggests that states use Social Security numbers, driver's license identification numbers, or passport numbers to fulfill this requirement. 

This provision obviously raises concerns, as the proposed criteria are all proxies for proof of citizenship. The concern is exacerbated by an additional federal provision in the Data Sharing Agreement specifically providing that the information could be shared with other federal agencies, i.e. The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If undocumented Americans are dissuaded from participating in the vaccination program, it would jeopardize both their health and the efficacy of the entire vaccination program. 

New York State has proposed two clarifications or modifications to address the issue. First, New York will provide an identification system to effectively track vaccinated individuals and the required dosages that does not identify to the Federal government an individual's Social Security number, passport number, or driver's license number. The state will provide aggregate data. In addition, the Federal government must agree to keep vaccination identification information private as with any other health matter, and agree not to share it with any non-health agency for any other purpose.

It is in everyone's interest for all of us to work together to encourage our respective constituents to participate in the vaccination program. Outreach efforts to Black, Brown, Asian and low-income communities is essential. Further, it is certainly not in the national interest for individuals to have valid concerns preventing such participation, and the undocumented community has specific and valid cause for concern in providing unnecessary, irrelevant, and sensitive information to federal agencies. 

We look forward to working together to organize a fast and effective vaccine program to ensure the national health. Thank you for your consideration, cooperation, and courtesy.


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Guillermo Chacon


Hispanic Health Network & Latino Commission on AIDS, Inc.

Andy Chen

Executive Director

Asian American Community Empowerment

Rawaa Nancy Albilal

President & CEO

Arab-American Family Support Center

Diana Saguilán

Interim Co-Executive Director

Worker Justice Center of New York

Maria Lizardo LMSW

Executive Director


Beth A. Broadway


InterFaith Works of Central New York

Davon Russell



Martha Maffei

Executive Director

SEPA Mujer Inc.

Jirandy Martinez

Executive Director

Community Resource Center

Linda Lee

President & CEO

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York

Alan Wernick


CUNY Citizenship Now!

Alba Lucero Villa

Executive Director

Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

Rebecca Sanin

President and CEO

Health and Welfare Council of Long Island

Eddia Cuesta

Executive Director

Dominicanos USA (DUSA)

Frankie Miranda


Hispanic Federation

Monsignor Kevin Sullivan

Executive Director

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

Sister Helen Kearney


Sisters of St. Joseph

Shelly Callahan

Executive Director

The Center

Andrea Callan, Esq.

Interim Co-Executive Director

Worker Justice Center of New York

Fanny Villarreal


YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County

Minerva Perez

Executive Director

OLA of Eastern Long Island

Jeff Reynolds

President & CEO

Family and Children's Association

Carola Otero Bracco

Executive Director

Neighbors Link

Talib Z. Abdullah

Executive Director


Manuel Castro

Executive Director

New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE)

Ben Thomases

Executive Director

Queens Community House

Mohammad Razvi

Chief Executive Officer

Council of Peoples Organization

John Park

Executive Director

MinKwon Center for Community Action

Gladys Serrano


Hispanic Counseling Center

Ligia Guallpa

Worker's Justice Project


Mimi Pierre Johnson

President and CEO

The Elmont Cultural Center

Albert Fox Cahn

Executive Director

S.T.O.P. - The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project

Nyasa Hickey

Director of Immigration Initiatives

Brooklyn Defender Services

Rokeya Akhter

Executive Director

New American Voters Association

Donna Lieberman

Executive Director

New York Civil Liberties Union

Carmen Maquilon


Catholic Charities of Long Island

Immigrant Services

Karen M. Andolina Scott

Executive Director

Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc.

Helen Alesi

Executive Director

Latino Civic Association

Kyle Bragg



Pabitra Benjamin

Executive Director


Jo-Ann Yoo

Executive Director

Asian American Federation

Jacob Dixon


Choice for All

Eileen Torres

Executive Director


Jay Subedi

New Americans Forum

Justine Olderman

Executive Director

Bronx Defenders

Yeseina Mata

Executive Director

La Colmena

Margarita Guzman

Executive Director

Violence Intervention Program

Murad Awawdeh

Interim Co-Executive Director

New York Immigration Coalition

Lucy A. Candelario

Executive Director

Erie Regional Housing Development Corporation d/b/a The Belle Center

Mino Lora

Co-Founder & Executive Director

People's Theatre Project

Deborah Axt

Co-Executive Director

Make the Road New York

Eva Hassett

Executive Director

International Institute of Buffalo

cc:  President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

       New York State Congressional Delegation

       Members of the Congressional Black Caucus

       Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

       Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Enc.     Additional Supporters

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