ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Recent calls to Democratic county executives from New York’s “vaccine czar” Larry Schwartz, where he questioned their support of the governor, has left several county leaders concerned.
“An individual with a great deal of latitude for the distribution of vaccines … should not be making phone calls that have any affiliation of any connection to politics,” said President of the New York State County Executives Association Marc Molinaro.
Molinaro said he has fielded several calls from Democratic executives who he says felt alarmed by the conversation.
“They were a little bit unnerved by the call, but then there were some who were really disturbed by it,” Molinaro said.
The Dutchess County executive would not name who called him, though he said “three or four” executives reached out. There are only eight Democratic county executives a part of the association.
When it comes to vaccine allotment, county executives are unaware how many vaccines will arrive week-to-week. In February, NEWS10 ABC requested information from the Department of Health for its county vaccine allotment during the first eight weeks of distribution. The request is delayed for two more months.
“There cannot be any acceptance, any blurring of that line, so the county executives have spoken out because we are concerned that the public will be impacted,” Molinaro said.
Governor Cuomo’s Acting Counsel Beth Garvey released a statement saying impart: “Larry’s conversations did not bring up vaccine distribution — he would never link political support to public health decisions.”
“Even if it wasn’t intentional, it is easily inferred, it is easily understood, and it really sends the wrong message. It undermines our ability to effectively be about this lifesaving businesses,” Molinaro said.