Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York. Beginning March 10, all New Yorkers 60 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine, while public facing essential workers from governmental and nonprofit entities will be eligible beginning March 17. This expansion also includes public-facing essential
Additionally, the Governor announced that with increased supply of the vaccine, restrictions concerning which segments of the eligible population specific providers can vaccinate will be relaxed to align with the expanded eligibility on March 17. Previously, certain types of providers were directed to focus their vaccination efforts on specific populations to ensure equitable vaccine distribution. For example, hospitals vaccinated health care workers, local health departments vaccinated essential workers and pharmacies vaccinated New Yorkers 65 years of age and older. Now, providers will be able to vaccinate any eligible New Yorker, with the exception of pharmacies, which will focus on individuals over the age of 60 and teachers, in line with federal policy. Pharmacies may begin vaccinating individuals over the age of 60 and teachers on March 10. As part of this effort, providers are being encouraged to vaccinate those New Yorkers most at risk, such as individuals 60 years of age and older and people with comorbidities and underlying health conditions.
“New York is marching forward expanding access to the COVID-19 vaccine, addressing underserved communities and getting shots in arms as we turn the tide in the fight against this virus,” Governor Cuomo said. “Supply is steadily increasing and we’re opening new vaccination sites and expanding eligibility to match it. New Yorkers over 60 years old and those who serve their fellow New Yorkers in the public sector are more vulnerable to COVID-19, and we’re addressing that vulnerability by providing access to the vaccine. The fight against the COVID beast continues on all fronts, and we’re pushing the infection rate down while getting our vaccinations up.”
Under this new expansion of eligibility, the following essential workers will now be eligible to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on March 17:
- Public-facing government and public employees
- Not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need
- Essential in-person public-facing building service workers
This includes workers such as public works employees, social service and child service caseworkers, government inspectors, sanitation workers, DMV workers, County Clerks, building service workers and election workers – the everyday heroes who have been showing up day in and day out throughout this pandemic.
New York’s vast distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still far exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to this limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.
CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan said, “Since the start of this pandemic, essential front line public workers have risked their own safety and the safety of their families to make sure our state and local governments keep providing needed services to all New Yorkers. We are gratified to hear all these workers will now be eligible for the vaccine. They deserve to be protected so that New York can fully and safely reopen.”
NY AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “Our essential workers have been on the front lines since the start of this pandemic to ensure our communities can continue to function in the midst of this crisis. While many essential workers have already been vaccinated, it is now time to ensure the rest of the individuals who are going to work every day and interacting with the public are protected against this virus and can keep themselves and their families safe. I thank Governor Cuomo for expanding vaccine eligibility to even more public-facing essential workers and for the state’s ongoing efforts to vaccinate every single New Yorker.”
32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo for adding building service workers to the vaccine eligibility list. Building service workers have protected the city during the pandemic and will now get the protection they need to stay safe. Building service workers like door staff, supers, cleaners, security officers, resident managers, porters helped New Yorkers to get through the pandemic and are vital to the city’s recovery. Their health and safety is tied to the city’s health and safety.”
DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “District Council 37 members have put their lives on the line every day to provide essential services New Yorkers rely on. Prioritizing our workers for vaccine eligibility is the right thing to do. It keeps them, their families and their communities safe. I applaud this expansion.”
Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831 IBT President Harry Nespoli said, “We have been in constant communication with the governor’s office on this issue and are very happy that our members will be eligible to receive vaccinations. Upwards of 25% of our members have been infected by COVID-19 and, tragically, four died. We greatly appreciate the governor’s actions.”
Eligible New Yorkers will be able to schedule appointments at state vaccination sites 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).
New York is maintaining and expanding a vast vaccine distribution network. On March 8, Governor Cuomo announced that as the federal vaccine supply continues to increase, New York will establish 10 additional state-run mass vaccination sites in the New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Capital, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and Western New York regions to further grow New York’s vast distribution network. The sites remain in development and are expected to launch in the coming weeks. Final details, including appointment scheduling information and hours of operation will be released in the coming days.
Not only has New York already established 13 other state-run mass vaccination sites, but in order to meet the Governor’s mandate to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine, numerous other sites have been established to ensure those New Yorkers living in underserved communities have direct access to the vaccine. This includes six joint state-FEMA community-based vaccination sites, the Yankee Stadium mass vaccination site, and more than 120 community-based pop-up sites in public housing developments, churches and community centers.