New Yorkers 30 and over eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine appointments

New York state residents over 30 will be eligible to make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment starting today.

News 12 Staff

Mar 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

Updated 1,172 days ago

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New York state residents over 30 are eligible to make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, and everyone over 16 will be eligible starting April 6, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
Vaccine eligibility had previously been restricted to people over 50, people in certain job categories and those with health conditions that put them at risk for serious illness if they were to become infected with the coronavirus. Previously, 12.2 million out of over 15 million New Yorkers over the age of 16 were eligible for COVID-19 vaccination as of last week.
"Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID," the Democratic governor said in a news release, adding that the new timetable was "well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House."
The new rule comes as New York continues to face among the highest levels of new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the nation. This expansion is especially important because the Mid-Hudson Valley has one of the worst seven-day average positivity rates in the state - at nearly 5%. And since more contagious variants, like from the UK and Brazil, are spreading quickly - doctors say getting shots out to more people is crucial. "One is the lack of mitigation that's being eased up in many locations including New York. And the variants that are dramatically increasing in the New York area," says the chief of infectious diseases at Northwell Health Dr. Bruce Farber.
Nearly three out of 10 New Yorkers have received at least a first dose of the vaccine, in line with the national average, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
And 15.2% of 19 million New Yorkers are fully vaccinated - the 39th lowest level in the nation, according to The Associated Press's analysis of federal data.
Local and county officials for weeks have urged the governor to ease restrictions on eligibility and who can administer vaccines to help speed up vaccinations. The governor has said low vaccine supplies held up vaccine distribution early on in New York's rollout, but he has eased eligibility restrictions in recent weeks as supply has increased.
New York received an average of roughly 790,000 first doses each week in March from the federal government, according to the state's data, up from an average of 350,000 in February.
When it comes to state mass vaccination sites, there's two in Westchester County, one in Orange, and one in Ulster, and starting tomorrow, one in Rockland. Officials say you can start making appointments now for the site at Rockland Community College. "Having a mass vaccination site here in Rockland County will make it easier for our residents to get the vaccine without having to travel across the bridge or down to New York City, or to other parts of the Hudson Valley," says Assemblyman Mike Lawler (R-97).
"Most recently, as of actually this morning, the Department of Health is actually allowing pharmacies those eligible patients over 30, but they're still asking us to prioritize the elderly as well as those with underlying conditions," says John Samuel, owner of Bardonia Pharmacy.
Now the big question is - how difficult will it be to get an appointment? Most sites are already booked through April and part of May.
With a wider eligibility pool, some News 12 viewers fear the increase in numbers will clog the appointment system and make it difficult to get an appointment. "This actually makes it much harder for people over 50 to get their vaccine appointment. We weren't given more time before a new wave of 30-plus people are now allowed," posted Diana Deer on News 12’s Facebook page. But the state says supply is ramping up and has 1.5 million doses to distribute this week. "Hopefully by the summertime, you'll start to see most adults vaccinated, which is what we hope for," says Samuel.
But the key is to get up early and start refreshing your computer. The state vaccination site is opening sign-up for people over 30 at 8 a.m. and they'll go quickly. For more information on getting appointments click the state’s 'Am I Eligible' website or call the state's COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).


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