Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday assailed the Trump administration for requiring "ID numbers" as a condition of its coronavirus vaccine distribution program, saying that such information could be used to detain undocumented residents.

Cuomo's objection to the federal requirement represents the latest in his ongoing battle with federal immigration authorities over their efforts to access data on undocumented New Yorkers.

"This is just another example of them trying to extort the state of New York for information that they can use at Department of Homeland Security and ICE to deport people," Cuomo said during a press call with reporters. "I will not do it."

Michael Bars, a White House spokesperson, said Cuomo's remarks were unfounded and politically motivated.

"As we’ve already explained to Governor Cuomo, such information would only be used to support the unprecedented private-public partnership continuing to harness the full power of the federal government, private sector, military, and scientific community to combat the coronavirus and save lives," Bars said, in a statement.

He added that the governor was displaying "a profound lack of understanding for the complex public health challenges associated with administering a safe and effective vaccine to New York and communities across the country."

Cuomo, however, argued that there was "no legitimate health reason" for the government to collect ID numbers, which he said can either mean driver's license, passport or social security numbers. He noted that the federal government's data use agreement with states says that the information collected will be used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services "and other federal partners." 

The governor said he had written a letter both the CDC and HHS asking why it needed such information to implement a vaccination program and whether it could pledge that the records would not be accessed by non-health related agencies.

In a follow-up email, Bars further clarified his statements, saying that the federal government's data use agreement would "under no circumstances" require social security numbers, passport numbers, or driver’s license numbers. 

He added that the data sharing agreement would request "only minimal information" pursuant to each state's policies. Furthermore, the state has the option to redact any personal information.

In a separate FAQ disseminated to state health officials provided to the National Governors' Association, the HHS said, "Identifiable data will not be available to CDC or other federal agencies for programmatic use and will only be used to track and reconcile COVID-19 vaccine administration data from disparate data sources."

Cuomo, however, has reasons to be suspicious. Last year, New York became one of more than a dozen states to pass a so-called "green light law" that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s license. But the state also passed a strong personal information protection provision that prohibits federal immigration agencies from securing records or photos from the Department of Motor Vehicles without a court order.

In February, the Department of Homeland Security appeared to single out New York for punishment for its rules by announcing that New Yorkers could no longer enroll in Trusted Traveler security programs, a special clearance coveted by many travelers because it enables them to bypass long lines during security checks at airports and border crossings.

Cuomo called the move "a form of extortion."

In July, Homeland Security officials reversed the policy and reinstated New Yorkers' eligibility to the Truster Traveler program, after acknowledging in a court filing that they had lied in their assertion that New York was the only state to withhold such data and was thereby endangering national security.

Vaccination, which health experts expect to begin sometime early next year, represents a mammoth public health initiative for states as well as the federal government. In addition to collecting demographic data to get a clear picture of who is getting vaccinated, health officials also need to be able to contact patients. The first set of vaccines to be approved are expected to require two doses, meaning that patients will need to receive second dose reminders. The CDC will also need to track any potential adverse reactions to the shots.

Last Friday marked a deadline set by the CDC for states to submit their vaccination plans, which include agreeing to the submission of patient data. In general, the CDC maintains a vaccination database that includes a category for a unique patient ID.

Other states, including Connecticut and Maryland, have consented in their draft vaccination plans to provide the CDC with a patient or recipient ID. New York's plan does not mention such a category, but instead states, "All state data collection, reporting, and public facing systems will prioritize patient privacy, cybersecurity, and will provide to the CDC and other federal agencies information as required."

Over the last several weeks, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly spoken about potential pitfalls in the federal government's vaccination plan, which he said would pose a huge test for states. At two doses, the United States would need to deliver as many as 660 million shots while New York alone would need to provide around 40 million. The Trump administration is calling for vaccination to be performed under a limited network of pharmacies that includes large chains like CVS and Walgreens, a proposal that Cuomo said severely limits states. His most recent criticism has focused on how such a private distribution system would hurt the poorest by leaving out traditional community health providers.