New York residents aged 60 and above are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine – and by May, all adults may be eligible.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that beginning March 10, the eligible age group to obtain the vaccine dropped from 65 to 60 years old.
The announcement coincides with the expansion of eligibility for public-facing employees. Beginning Wednesday, March 17, public-facing government and public employees, including nonprofit workers and essential in-person public-facing building service workers, will be eligible to receive the vaccine, Cuomo said at a March 9 press conference. That includes public works people, social service people, child service care workers, DMV workers, many CSEA employees, election workers and more.
Further, President Joseph Biden announced last week that every adult in the United States will be eligible for a vaccine by May 1, according to a White House press briefing, pushing New York State to increase vaccine rollout.
“The President's announcement last night is going to have a major ramification on states' vaccination capacity,” Cuomo said March 12. “He has moved up dramatically the amount of vaccines that are available and that is a good thing, obviously.”
Cuomo noted that the state will need to rapidly increase vaccine distribution, as “we are not at that capacity now.”
The Biden administration is also expected to double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program, making the vaccine available at over 20,000 pharmacies across the country. Six million vaccines had been administered as of March 12. Approximately 21 percent of all New Yorkers have received at least one dose. Cuomo stated that New York State received a large supply of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccines, which were administered last week.
By the last week of March, supply is expected to “increase dramatically.” In turn, Cuomo said, the state has ramped up production and distribution capacity by opening 10 new mass vaccination sites and partnering with houses of worship for vaccine distribution.
In Suffolk County, approximately 292,242 people – or 19.7 percent of the total population – have received at least one vaccine dose, according to county data from March 11. The statewide positivity rate is currently 3.11 percent. In Suffolk County, the seven-day average is 4.1 percent.