By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo asked Pfizer Inc Chief Executive Albert Bourla on Monday if the state could buy COVID-19 vaccine doses directly from the U.S. drugmaker.
Pfizer, however, told Reuters that such a proposal would first require approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“With hospitalizations and deaths increasing across the country this winter, we are in a footrace with the virus, and we will lose unless we dramatically increase the number of doses getting to New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a letter to Pfizer’s CEO.
Cuomo said he was appealing to Pfizer directly as the company was “not bound by commitments” that Moderna Inc made as part of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government’s program to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.
No state has purchased vaccines directly from the producer. Cuomo’s letter did not state how many doses he was seeking or how he would pay for it.
Pfizer said it was open to collaborating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a way that would ensure quick vaccine distribution to as many Americans as possible.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Howard Goller)