Pharmacies can now vaccinate people with comorbidities, underlying health conditions in New York


ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday people in New York State with qualifying comorbidities or underlying conditions can now get vaccinated at pharmacies.

Announced Sunday afternoon, New York residents with comorbidities or underlying health conditions can prove their eligibility to get vaccinated at a pharmacy with doctor’s letter, or medical information evidencing comorbidity, or signed certification.

It was also announced New Yorkers age 16 and older with the following conditions can be vaccinated as they’re at a higher risk of severe illness if COVID-19 is contracted:

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

“New Yorkers with comorbidities are among our state’s most at-risk residents, and access to the COVID-19 vaccine protects this vulnerable population as we work to defeat the virus and establish the new normal. 

As New York receives more doses and more people receive the vaccine, we’re able to expand the population pharmacies can serve, and this is a commonsense step forward that will help make it easier to protect New Yorkers.”

— Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo (D)

Sen. Jeremy Cooney is one lawmaker who has been pushing for this change in an effort to get more more vaccines in arms.

“If you are eligible in the State of New York, you should be able to have access whether you are at a pharmacy or state facility — it should be equal across the board and give more Rochestarians access to vaccine.”

Cooney’s office released the following statement:

“While we are encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s expanded access to the COVID19 vaccine through pharmacists, the updated guidelines fall short of our goal. New York pharmacists should be able to vaccinate all eligible New Yorkers, immediately. The new expansion, while welcomed, is not what the 37 members of the Senate Majority requested. We continue to urge Governor Cuomo to simplify vaccination access and eliminate unnecessary barriers for patients and providers,” Sen. Cooney said.

“Our partners at the Board of the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) said this Thursday, ‘There is no medical or practical need to distinguish between vaccine doses for pharmacists or other providers. We are committed to expanding vaccination options and believe that pharmacists play a vital role in moving New York state from a public health crisis into recovery,’ Steve Moore, PharmD, Chairman of the PSSNY said.”

Previously, only those ages 60 or older and teachers could get vaccinated at pharmacies.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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