NYS starts COVID-19 vaccination for group 1B, including 75+ years old

New Yorkers within priority group 1B can now begin scheduling appointments with individual providers, including pharmacies, local health departments, and hospitals, to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, the state government announced.

Those now eligible to receive the vaccine include individuals 75 years and older, first responders, public safety officers, teachers and other school staff, in-person college instructors, childcare workers, public-facing grocery store workers, transit workers and individuals living and working in homeless shelters, according to an official statement released on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Eligibility determinations and a list of nearby providers where appointments can be scheduled can all be done through New York’s new “Am I Eligible” mobile application. New Yorkers can begin calling the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 4 p.m. Monday.

“Since federal supply severely limits the ability to distribute vaccine, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment,” said the statement.

New York’s vast distribution network and large population of more than 4 million eligible individuals in this priority group dwarf the vaccine supply coming from the federal government, which is arriving at a rate of approximately 300,000 doses per week, it said.

“As such, eligible New Yorkers should be prepared to receive an appointment date as far as 14 weeks in the future,” it added.

“After 10 long months, the expansion of eligibility for additional New Yorkers to begin making their Covid-19 vaccination plan is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying.

“The vaccine is the weapon that will end the war, and as we continue to prioritize healthcare workers as hospital capacity necessitates, New York is proud to have reached this milestone and we strongly encourage all who are newly eligible to schedule their free vaccination appointment as soon as possible,” he added.

On January 7, New York State clarified that healthcare workers on the front lines should be the priority group, classified as “1A” in its distribution plan to receive COVID-19 vaccination.

Once those healthcare workers who want to accept a vaccine are afforded the opportunity, vaccinations go to the “1B” category with a variety of non-governmental agencies utilized to administer those vaccines, including pharmacies, private doctor networks, and groups serving underserved communities, according to the state government.

As of Monday noon, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University reported 39,632 coronavirus deaths in New York State, the worst in the country.