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Update: State Expands Eligibility for Covid-19 Vaccine

Mon, 01/11/2021 - 17:23
A Covid-19 vaccination record card indicates when a first dose of the Moderna vaccine was received.

Update, Jan. 12, 5:53 p.m.: On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State would open vaccinations to anyone 65 or older and the immunocompromised, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

This move expands the population of New Yorkers eligible to receive the vaccine to 7 million, according to the governor's office, yet the federal government has only allocated 300,000 doses of vaccine a week for New York State.

To supplement the work done by hospitals to vaccinate priority health workers, five state-run vaccine sites will open this week and will administer vaccines by appointment; another 15 are in the works. The only Long Island site opening this week will be at Jones Beach. The governor's office has warned even those New Yorkers who are already eligible to receive the vaccine that they may need to wait 14 weeks or longer for an appointment. 

"I encourage New Yorkers to be patient throughout this process and urge our federal government to increase the supply to states," the governor said on Tuesday. 

The network of distribution sites across the state will soon include "doctors' offices, federally-qualified health centers, county health departments, ambulatory centers and pharmacies," 1,200 of which "have already committed to participating in this network, with nearly 400 scheduled to come on-line this week," the governor said. Pharmacies are to handle vaccinations for those 65 and older.

Original, Jan. 11, 5:23 p.m.: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday expanded the groups eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine to include people 75 and older, members of police and fire departments, health workers at outpatient facilities including private medical and dental practices, teachers and school staff, child-care workers, and grocery store workers who interact with the public. Actually getting the vaccine, however, could take up to 14 weeks, he said. 

"Due to limited federal distribution of vaccine supply all New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient," a press release from the governor's office said. 

Despite the expanded list of eligibility, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital said that hospitals have been directed to continue vaccinating their front-line workers, nursing home residents and staff, emergency medical services personnel, and others given first priority by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We look forward to being able to vaccinate our patients when we are provided with vaccine supply and will continue to keep you informed via our patient portal, website, and social media as information becomes available," the hospital said in a statement. 

Residents can sign up for an app on the state's website to check eligibility for the vaccine, and to find the phone number for a nearby distribution site to schedule an appointment. Prior to receiving the vaccine, patients must sign a form attesting to eligibility, and bring proof of eligibility to the distribution site. Acceptable documents for workers include a pay stub, an employee identification card, and a letter from an employer, according to the governor's office. 

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