Phase 1B eligibility expands

Local gov’ts can decide to add more groups to designation list


With permission from local governments, taxi drivers, restaurant workers and people living in facilities for developmentally disabled now qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Local governments throughout New York State will determine if they want to add these individuals into Phase 1B of the vaccination procedure, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Feb. 2.

The determination, made by local officials, is expected to be based on the supply of vaccines in each area and how many health care workers, and others in Phase 1A and 1B, have been vaccinated thus far.

It’s unclear at this time if Suffolk County plans to include taxi drivers, restaurant workers and people living in facilities for developmentally disabled in Phase 1B.

As stated previously, Cuomo said the vaccine is a supply issue: there are 7.1 million people eligible, but only 300,000 doses are distributed to the state per week.

“No one has enough,” the Governor said at the press conference.

The state’s supply is dependent on the federal government’s weekly allocation, Cuomo said, as it is responsible for purchasing the vaccine from pharmaceutical companies.

Federal supply of the vaccine is expected to increase to 20 percent for the next three weeks. In turn, New York State, and then local governments, are expected to see an increase of the shots in the near future.

The federal government is also expected to distribute 30,000 vaccines to New York’s private pharmacies, who are charged with prioritizing the 65-plus population, Cuomo said.

As of Tuesday, Long Island received 288,360 vaccines and distributed 213,037 of them, or 74 percent.

While over 2 million vaccines have been administered across the state, COVID-19 cases continue to linger on Long Island.

Cuomo called Long Island “problematic,” as Nassau and Suffolk counties have continued to maintain the highest positivity rate across the state.

Approximately 839 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Suffolk on Jan. 31, according to county data.

Roughly 5.8 percent of people tested positive in Suffolk County on Jan. 30. The seven-day average in the county is currently trending downward, with an estimated 6.4 percent weekly average positivity rate.  

Due to inclement weather, all state-run vaccination sites, including those at SUNY Stony Brook and Jones Beach, were shut down Monday and Tuesday, according to a state press release. All appointments are expected to be rescheduled.


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