ALBANY — People ages 30 and older in the state are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after inoculations first began in mid-December.
The state expanded vaccine eligibility Monday against the novel coronavirus to include all New Yorkers ages 30 and older starting 8 a.m. Tuesday.
A person must be 16 years old to receive a COVID vaccine. Universal eligibility will begin April 6 for all New Yorkers 16 years old and older.
“Today, we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Monday. “Beginning March 30, all New Yorkers age 30 or older will be able to be vaccinated, and all New Yorkers age 16 or older will be eligible on April 6 — well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House. As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind.”
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved, and the state’s vaccine Clinical Task Force separately approved Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose coronavirus vaccines in December. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was approved last month and dramatically increased the federal and state supply, allowing officials to expand eligibility to more New Yorkers waiting to get the life-saving injection.
More than 9 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at several thousand vaccination sites statewide since Dec. 14. More than 171,420 doses were distributed in the state in the last 24 hours, according to the governor’s office, with more than 2 million doses at joint state and Federal Emergency Management Administration mass sites.
The state’s distribution network and large population of eligible vaccine patients still far exceed the federal government’s supply.
“Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Federal shipments are slated to arrive in the coming days for week 16 of allocation.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but until we get there it is more important than ever for each and every New Yorker to wear a mask, socially distance and follow all safety guidelines,” Cuomo said.
Health care workers, first responders, teachers, essential workers and people with underlying conditions have been eligible to get vaccinated for weeks. New Yorkers must show a doctor’s letter, medical information with evidence of their comorbidity or a signed certification as proof they are qualified to get a coronavirus vaccine.
To check your vaccine eligibility and to sign up for an appointment, visit am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov.
The state’s COVID-19 infection rate has started to increase after dropping for several weeks following the holiday season surge. New York’s coronavirus positivity rate is 4.13%, or an inflated 3.46% average over the last week. The state’s seven-day average dipped to 3.18% in mid-March after a spike last fall through the holiday season, which ended New Year’s Day. New York’s virus positivity peaked at 7.94% on Jan. 4.
Coronavirus infection rates are staying flat or ticking up in most of the state’s 10 regions, with a flat positivity of 1.44% in the North Country, 2.43% in the Capital Region, a slightly elevated 3.15% in Western New York and a steady 2% in the Finger Lakes.
Statewide hospitalizations have remained about flat over the last week. Forty-six new virus patients entered state hospitals Sunday to 4,575. Hospitalizations have continued a long flattening decline for several weeks after the holiday surge, peaking at 8,991 virus patients Jan. 21.
The state reported 57 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 on Sunday — slightly down, but about flat with statewide daily virus fatalities over the past week.
New Yorkers who suspect fraud in vaccine distribution should call 833-VAX-SCAM, or 833-829-7226, toll-free or email the state Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints are routed to appropriate investigative agencies, according to the governor’s office.