CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (WTEN) — Vaccine eligibility in New York expanded statewide this week to include people with comorbidities and underlying conditions. Getting an appointment, though, remains a daunting task for many.
The main types of vaccination sites are state-run, county-run, hospitals, and pharmacies. Each has a different state-mandated priority population they are supposed to focus on vaccinating.
According to the most updated Department of Health guidance, hospitals must continue to prioritize unvaccinated health care workers. Vaccines were earmarked to vaccinate those workers who want to be vaccinated through February 14. Now, any allocations to the hospital are open to all populations eligible for vaccination at hospitals, prioritizing all Phase 1A individuals who are not employed at the hospital, and congregate care populations with the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), then individuals age 65 and older.
As of Monday, no appointment were available at the local mass vaccination site on the SUNY Albany campus. There were some appointments available at different sites throughout the state. However, the Office of the Governor says that more appointments will come online in the following weeks on a rolling basis.
Senior advisor to Gov. Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi, tweeted about the issue:
About 7 million New Yorkers are eligible to be vaccinated, but the state says that even as the federal government ramps up supply, it’s not enough for the large eligibility pool including comorbidities.
Local health departments must continue to prioritize the essential worker population in phase 1B and residents and staff of congregate settings operated or certified by the OPWDD. Local health departments are allowed to give the vaccine to people with underlying conditions starting this week.
The guidance states that retail pharmacies or physician network or practice groups should only vaccinate persons aged 65 years or older. To check your eligibility for vaccination at a state-run mass vaccination site, use the “Am I Eligible” tool.
That eligibility tool has been updated to include underlying conditions. People can use a letter from a doctor, medical records, or signed certification to attest to their comorbidities.