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‘The first shall be last and the last shall be first’: New York governor promises to let minorities get vaccine before him

by Will Maule

Despite being eligible, the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has said that he will not receive the Covid-19 vaccine until minority communities are immunised from the disease. In a pre-recorded video message, Cuomo, a Democrat, quoted the passages from Galatians and the Gospel of Matthew, and insisted that the vaccine must be made available o “black, Hispanic and poor communities", who have been disproportionately affected by the virus.

The decision to hold back on taking the shot, Cuomo said, was to demonstrate his commitment to “social and racial justice".

"I am committed to social and racial justice in the distribution of this vaccine. It will be available as fairly and as quickly as we can make it happen. Race or income will not determine who lives and who dies. And I mean it,” he said.

“And that's why I say to you today that I want to take the vaccine. I move around a lot and come into contact with many people and I would feel much safer if I took the vaccine, but I will not take the vaccine until the vaccine is available for my group in black, Hispanic, and poor communities around the state."

Cuomo went on to quote two Biblical passages as a way of explaining his reasoning for letting others receive the vaccine before him. 

"The good book says, ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first’ in Matthew 20:16. Until the vaccine is available in the South Bronx, and the East Side of Buffalo, and Wyandanch, and South Jamaica, and Edgerton and East Utica, our health care deserts, our job is not done," he said.  

"I'll do my part, but you have to do your part. We all need to have faith and trust in the vaccine, and we need to have generosity in our souls, where we act for the good of one another.

“The Good Book says, in Paul's epistle to the Galatians, ‘carry each other's burdens.’ That is our mission today. 2021 will be what we make it. We are New York Tough.”

The state of New York has now recorded over a million cases of Covid-19 and just under 40,000 deaths.

The United States as a whole has logged more than 21 million cases of the virus to date, which is more than double the number recorded in the second-worst affected country in the world - India. Over 360,000 Americans have perished from the illness. 

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