As federal supplies of Covid-19 vaccines begin to tick upward, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has once again expanded eligibility for the vaccines, announcing on Tuesday that people ages 60 and over will be able to get shots starting Wednesday morning.
Also, Governor Cuomo said, starting on March 17 people in certain professions who work in proximity to the general public will be able to get the vaccine. They include government and public employees, not-for-profit workers providing services, and essential building service employees who work in-person. According to a press release from the governor's office, examples of people who are now eligible include sanitation workers, public works employees, social service and children's caseworkers, Department of Motor Vehicles staff, security guards, building superintendents, and cleaners.
Governor Cuomo described them as "the everyday heroes who have been showing up day in and day out throughout this pandemic."
"Supply is steadily increasing and we're opening new vaccination sites and expanding eligibility to match it," he said in a press conference on Tuesday. "New Yorkers over 60 years old and those who serve their fellow New Yorkers in the public sector are more vulnerable to Covid-19, and we're addressing that vulnerability by providing access to the vaccine. The fight against the Covid beast continues on all fronts, and we're pushing the infection rate down while getting our vaccinations up."
According to the new rules, starting March 17, any vaccine provider can vaccinate any person who is eligible. Previously, the state said, certain facilities were limited in the scope of who they could serve — hospitals could only vaccinating health care workers, for example. The only exception will be pharmacies, which will continue to vaccinate only people 60 and older as well as teachers.
"New York's vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government," the state said in a release. "Due to this limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment."
At state-run sites, eligible New Yorkers can use the state's Am I Eligible website or its vaccine hotline, 833-NYS-4-VAX (833-697-4829) to schedule appointments. Individual pharmacies' websites and local vaccination programs, such as the East Hampton Town vaccine registration hub at ehtownvaccine.org, are also ways people can sign up for access.