Approved February 9, 2021



WHEREAS; the State of New York’s Covid vaccination program is causing enormous confusion and frustration for citizens attempting to schedule vaccine appointments through online appointment calendars and openings are scarce and are posted with little to no advanced notice;  and

WHEREAS; some senior citizens who have limited to no access to, or knowledge of computer internet technology could be at a pronounced disadvantage when competing to schedule appointments that are typically filled within minutes of being posted; and

WHEREAS; the State opened websites and accepted appointments for places such as the Utica Auditorium that were later cancelled because the State did not adequately plan to conduct the program and posted the appointments without any preparation in place; and

WHEREAS; local officials and health departments had been required by the State to develop and submit plans for vaccination programs because of their extensive experience and lessons learned from handling the H1N1 pandemic of 2009; and

WHEREAS; Governor Andrew Cuomo made a decision to bypass local health officials and control the vaccination program at the State level;  and

WHEREAS; Governor Cuomo also set aside vaccine distribution plans that had been developed by top state health department officials during the past 15-20 years in the aftermath of the 911 attacks;  and

WHEREAS; sources cited by the New York Times on February 2, 2021 indicate the Governor’s vaccine planning team has consisted mainly of longtime political advisors, and that “a task force with outside experts, convened by Mr. Cuomo to guide the vaccination plan, met infrequently and was rarely offered the chance to provide guidance” according to the Times; and

WHEREAS; Governor Andrew Cuomo also requested that the federal government work with state officials only, which disrupted past practices in which local municipalities such as New York City had been able to order vaccines directly from the federal government;  and

WHEREAS; local officials such as Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente have complained they don’t know of emerging changes and details of the State’s program until they hear it during one of the Governor’s press conferences;  and

WHEREAS; New York State currently ranks #20 in the country by percentage of population vaccinated since vaccine approval was granted;

WHEREAS; numerous local officials such as Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente have continued to voice concerns over the State’s vaccination program and a desire to manage the program through the local health department;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce supports the proposition that Covid vaccinations be distributed according to plans developed by local county health departments and under the management of county governments.