New York expanding COVID vaccine eligibility to 50 and above. What to know
New York will expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to ages 50 and above on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The move comes after New York added ages 60 and older as well as various essential jobs to the eligibility list last week, as COVID-19 vaccine production ramps up and thousands of doses became available statewide.
Those 50 and above will be able to begin booking appointments 8 a.m. Tuesday on the state's vaccination website, according to the governor's office.
"We continue to kick vaccinations into overdrive throughout the state by expanding eligibility, establishing new vaccination sites and allowing providers to reach new populations," Cuomo said in a statement Monday.
"More New Yorkers are getting vaccinated every single day, but we still have a long way to go before defeating the COVID beast and reaching safety," he added.
The eligibility expansion was made possible by anticipated increases in the weekly allocation of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government, with New York state receiving about double its prior shipment of about 400,000 doses per week, Cuomo said.
Cuomo announced the expansion during a public briefing at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, while launching the "Roll Up Your Sleeve" campaign to promote houses of worship of all faiths across the state to sign up as vaccination sites for their communities.
"Faith leaders are the most trusted voices in their respective communities, and with their help, we will be able to reach those New Yorkers who have suffered the most from this pandemic and bring the vaccine to the communities that got hit the hardest by COVID," Cuomo said in a statement.
The dire push to ramp up vaccinations is unfolding as New York ranked third in the nation behind New Jersey and Rhode Island among states where coronavirus was still spreading the fastest on a per-person basis.
Further, New York on Saturday had its first positive case of the Brazilian coronavirus strain, which has shown to be more contagious than original strains and prompted some concern among health experts, Cuomo said.
Still, New York reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 41,406 new cases, a drop of 11% from the week before.
As for vaccinations, about 5.1 million New Yorkers, or 25.7% of the population, had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as of Sunday morning, state data show.
The COVID vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require two doses to be fully effective while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine required one shot. All three vaccines received emergency use approval from the Food & Drug Administration.
About 2.65 million New Yorkers, or 13% of the population had been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, the most recent data show.
Meanwhile, some states have announced plans to open up vaccination eligibility to all adults 16 and above in coming weeks, far ahead of the deadline set in President Joe Biden's directive to states to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all adults no later than May 1.
So far, Michigan, Iowa and Connecticut plan to open up vaccines to all adults on April 5, while many others remained on track to meet the May 1 deadline.
In addition to ages 50 and older, New York's vaccine eligibility includes various essential workers, such as teachers and public-facing nonprofit jobs, as well as those with select underlying health conditions such as cancer.
Those who are eligible will be able to schedule appointments by utilizing New York's 'Am I Eligible' website or by calling the state's COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
USA TODAY Network contributed to this report.
Support local journalism
We cover the stories from the New York State Capitol and across New York that matter most to you and your family. Please consider supporting our efforts with a subscription to the New York publication nearest you. Check out the latest offer.