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Cuomo threatens to sue Trump administration over vaccine distribution plan

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThree National Guardsmen killed after military helicopter crash in New York New York City reschedules 23,000 vaccination appointments due to supply issues Pence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden MORE (D) on Sunday threatened to sue the Trump administration if its vaccine distribution plan unduly limited Black and brown peoples' access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Cuomo had previously criticized the vaccine distribution plan laid out by the Trump administration for relying too much on hospitals, drug stores and clinics to deliver the vaccine. Cuomo has noted that communities of color often have limited access to public or private healthcare, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports.

“If the Trump administration does not change this plan and does not provide an equitable vaccine process, we will enforce our legal rights. We will bring legal action to protect New Yorkers,” said Cuomo during a Sunday service at Riverside Church in New York City, according to the Post-Standard.

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The coronavirus has especially affected communities of color. A CDC analysis conducted in August showed disproportionate amounts of cases in communities of color across a number of hot spots. Other research has shown Black and Hispanic people are also more likely to suffer serious illness or death as a result of COVID-19. Research indicates this may be due to a combination of the disproportionate likelihood of these individuals having underlying health conditions, lack of access to healthcare and people of color being more likely to be essential workers.

To better reach these communities, Cuomo said he was calling on the Trump administration to include churches and community centers in its distribution plan.

“Any plan that intentionally burdens communities of color to hinder access to the vaccine deprives those communities of equal protection under the law,” Cuomo said.

He added that a “special effort” needed to be made to reach communities of color because the “private market” would not be enough.

On Friday, Trump said that Cuomo’s previous criticisms of his administration’s plan would result in vaccines not being delivered to New York. Trump claimed that Cuomo didn’t “trust where the vaccine is coming from,” a statement Cuomo denied later that day on MSNBC.

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“None of what the president said is true, surprise, surprise,” said Cuomo. He said that American trusted drug companies more than they trusted Trump when it came to the vaccine.

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) referred to Trump’s comments as “nothing more than vindictive behavior by a lame-duck president trying to exact vengeance on those who oppose his politics.”

Pfizer recently announced that its vaccine candidate had been shown to be 90 percent effective in preventing the coronavirus. The nation’s top immunologist, Dr. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care — Fauci: Lack of facts 'likely' cost lives in coronavirus fight | CDC changes COVID-19 vaccine guidance to allow rare mixing of Pfizer, Moderna shots | Senate chaos threatens to slow Biden's agenda Fauci infuriated by threats to family Poll: Plurality of voters say coronavirus vaccine rollout slower than expected MORE said he trusted the pharmaceutical company and would take the vaccine if it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.