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New York City’s business leaders are concerned about the state’s troubled COVID vaccine rollout — and they’re offering to mobilize their clout and resources to help speed it up.
Reps from dozens of city-based firms led by Goldman Sachs chief David Solomon held a Thursday call with Larry Schwartz, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who has been tasked with the vaccine rollout, sources told The Post. On the call, they urged Albany to let the city’s most powerful private businesses leverage their money and power to get Gotham out of its vaccine gridlock.
After weeks of Mayor Bill de Blasio warning that the city was running out of vaccines and would have to delay or cancel appointments for frontline workers and senior citizens, Cuomo tweeted Friday afternoon that the state’s vaccine supply “may already be exhausted.”
According to sources who were on the conference call, Wall Street leaders were nearly unanimous in demanding a concerted vaccination plan to get their people back in their Manhattan office towers, reignite local businesses, and stave off an economic collapse.
“I urge political leaders at all levels and across all jurisdictions to do everything possible to implement a coordinated and comprehensive [vaccination] distribution plan,” Solomon said on a Monday earnings call with analysts. “In its absence, economic recovery will be unnecessarily delayed.”
Thursday’s call with Schwartz was arranged by Partnership for NYC President Kathryn Wylde after she received calls from a number of local business leaders who wanted to ask questions and offer solutions.
“They had a lot of questions about what was going on and how they could speed things up,” said Wylde, who reached out Schwartz and scheduled a time for a chat. “I told my members, ‘We’ve got Larry Schwartz for a 45-minute call, those who want can join.’”
While Solomon was the only big-name Wall Street CEO on the call, medical personnel from JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Blackstone logged in to make the case that Wall Street’s wealth and lobbying influence could provide space and logistics to get shots in New Yorkers arms and the economy back on track, according to sources.
The group also offered to potentially push the Biden administration to get more vaccine to the nation’s largest city. The chief medical officer of BlackRock, which now holds outsized sway in the new White House, was also on the call, according to a source.
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