Vaccine opens to those with underlying conditions

Local health depts. to receive vaccines for people with comorbidities beginning Feb. 15


Beginning next week, people with comorbidities will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from local health departments, state officials announced last week.

During a press briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that starting Feb. 15, vaccine doses not used by hospital work- ers in Group 1A will be reallocated to local health departments to be given to people with comorbidities.

“We do not have a supply that can reach everyone,” Cuomo said. “Prioritization is to reach those people who are most at risk or most essential.”

State officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish guidelines and a commodities list, the governor said.

Vaccines will continue to be distributed to those who meet criteria for Phase 1A and 1B, and hospitals will have roughly a week to ensure that its staff is vaccinated. Approximately 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths are people who have comorbidities or other underlying conditions, Cuomo said.

Until adequate supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine can be provided on a regular basis by the federal government, Suffolk County will be operating vaccine Points of Distribution events, or PODs, to vac- cinate 1B essential workers, according to the county website. Employers will be contacted directly to schedule an appointment.

As more vaccine doses become available, under guidance from New York State, Suffolk County will extend distribution to the broader population in phases.

CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy are part of the Initial Federal Retail Pharmacy Partners in most of New York, according to the CDC, which must prioritize vaccinations for individuals age 65 and older.

As of Feb. 7, approximately 345,505 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received on Long Island and 79 percent of those have been distributed, according to county data.

Approximately 143,016 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Suffolk County. Brookhaven Town has the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases in any town in Suffolk; a total 41,589 people in Brookhaven have tested positive. Islip Town, with over 37,000 cases, follows close behind.


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