In an effort to speed up what has been a sluggish rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, New York’s governor is threatening to fine hospitals up to $100,000 and withhold future vaccine doses if they don’t finish their first round of inoculations by the end of the week.

UHS healthcare is on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s list on underperforming systems charged with distributing the vaccine.  During a news conference January 4, the Democrat displayed a chart showing the percentage of allocated vaccines that had been distributed and that listing shows UHS at 25 percent of doses given. 

Following that announcement, UHS, which is charged with vaccine distribution through the Southern Tier region, told several media outlets that the governor’s numbers were inaccurate.  A spokesperson told First News Channel 34 that a discrepancy in the numbers came as the program shifted from a manual count to a state reporting system and UHS is on track to use all the allocated vaccine by the end of the week deadline.

Cuomo made the threat of penalties for un-administered shots hours before announcing the discovery of the state’s first known case of a new, more contagious variant of the virus.

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The governor says a man in his 60s who works at a jewelry store in Saratoga Springs tested positive for the variant. Three others associated with the jewelry store have tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials are testing to determine if those people also are infected with the UK variant of the virus.

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