Vaccine eligibility is advancing day by day

A bottle of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. 23, 2020. (Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/TNS)

There’s an old adage that goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It suggests a foundation on which to build a healthy life. It means staving off poor health today will keep you free of it tomorrow.

In light of this, New Yorkers age 30 and older 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 Tuesday. The best news: Universal eligibility will begin April 6 for all New Yorkers 16 and older — well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House.

As the vaccine supply increases and more people are being vaccinated in the GLOW region, local health officials are trying to get the word out that they do, in fact, have vaccines and appointments available. Because while the number of people with one and completed doses are increasing, the region’s percentages remain below the state percentages.

Livingston County Public Health Director Jennifer Rodriguez acknowledged this week the health department was “having a hard time filling our clinics.”

As of Thursday night, 68 appointment slots remained for clinics today and Tuesday at the Livingston County Department of Health. The clinics are open to all eligible New York State residents. For information, go to https://www.livingstoncounty.us/1234/COVID-19-Vaccine-Clinics .

Rodriguez said a couple factors contributing to the difficulty are people with “vaccine hesistancy” over the new vaccine, and others who desire the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Genesee and Orleans County Health Department officials remind residents that whatever COVID-19 vaccine is available is the best vaccine.

This is a momentous occasion in the fight New York state has been waging against the novel coronavirus since last March. Eligibility continues to broaden among the state’s demographics, ensuring New Yorkers of all ages will be vaccinated and make the vaccine accessible to every community to embrace equity for communities of color, which have been too often left behind.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved, and the state’s vaccine Clinical Task Force separately approved, Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines in December. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was approved last month and vastly augmented supplies at the federal and state levels. This, in turn, allowed officials to expand eligibility.

It took a comparatively short time to research and develop a COVID-19 vaccine that is dependable and safe. In sharp contrast, Louis Pasteur in 1881 helped develop a vaccine for anthrax, which was used successfully in sheep, goats and cows, but it wasn’t until 1885, while studying rabies, Pasteur tested his first human vaccine.

Revitalization of our health and our confidence in science walk hand in hand in the revitalization of communities too long underserved by a health care system they trusted. It’s happening today, age group by age group, demographic by demographic, even neighborhood by neighborhood.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1