New York vaccination eligibility continues to develop

There are more than 7 million New Yorkers who qualify or may soon receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people of all ages with underlying diseases, as announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on Friday. This includes restaurant workers, taxi drivers and people in facilities for the developmentally disabled.

But new challenges are likely to come with this expansion, and local officials hope state officials will improve their communications in the coming weeks.

“Now, when the governor makes these announcements, health departments across the state will get thousands and thousands of pone calls from people asking what to do?” said Marc Molinar, the Dutchess County’s Republican who challenged Cuomo in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

“You can’t call someone who is callous and insincere for doing something one day and the next without involving the partners doing the work.”

The state stressed last month that vaccinating people who work in health care fears that a supersreader event in a hospital or health facility could paralyze a region. Cuomo signaled on Friday that he was now ready to move on.

“Yes, we had to do hospital staff. Yes, nursing homes,” he said. “After that 94 percent of the deaths, comorbidities. That’s why I feel comfortable with this decision.”

Official guidance on how to demonstrate that vaccine recipients have an underlying health condition is expected to be released in the coming days, and that portion of the population is eligible until February 15.

But MP Pat Fahy said the state should have prioritized this group earlier.

“Unless you are comorbid, if you are not an essential worker, you should not perturb those who are 95 years old or people who have comorbidity,” she said.

Fahy also wants the state to add yet another group of people: those who work in pantries.

“You were on the front line,” she said. “These are the people we have called heroes so often over the past year. Why should we split this up and take some of those heroes and say we won’t even give you a place in line?”

However, the demand remains high. New York only receives about 300,000 doses a week to cover 7.1 million eligible people.

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