Eyes wide open this weekend

Syringes with doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine. Bloomberg photo by Eric Lee.

As we know all too well, there is no sure thing where COVID-19 is concerned. This is likely to be demonstrated again this weekend when New Yorkers should anticipate state websites to become overwhelmed when 3 million or more additional people with underlying conditions become eligible to make appointments to get a coronavirus vaccine.

State residents over the age of 16 with an approved underlying condition that makes them high risk for becoming infected with COVID-19 can start to book an appointment online at midnight Feb. 14, for vaccinations to begin Feb. 15.

State health experts are getting the word out early. They’re telling people to expect long delays.

“The sites will be crushed; this will not be perfect,” Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa said Monday. “Everybody should go into this with their eyes wide open. There are going to be problems. Everyone’s going to do their best to avoid glitches as the portals get up and running. It’s going to be a tough period here.”

Illnesses include cancer (current or in remission); chronic kidney disease; pulmonary disease including COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis and 9/11-related pulmonary diseases; intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome; heart conditions including heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or high blood pressure; immunocompromised states due to an organ or blood transplant, immune deficiency, HIV, use of immune-weakening medicine; severe obesity with a Body Mass Index over 40; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; cerebrovascular disease, neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and liver disease.

We strongly discourage people from abusing the system or trying to log in if you don’t suffer from any of the eligible underlying conditions. It will be up to local health departments to determine the exact parameters they want.

Here is one thing we’re sure of: There will be mistakes and there will be inefficiencies. In short, as with anything to do with the coronavirus, be patient and be prepared for anything.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1