With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available to some New Yorkers, the state is beginning to set up sites where residents can go to receive the first dose of the vaccine.
As of Monday, Jan. 11, New York entered “phase 1B” of the state’s vaccination program, which includes eligibility for corrections officers, first responders, teachers, transit workers, and New Yorkers over the age of 75.
The new group joins frontline healthcare workers, residents, and employees at nursing homes, all of whom are expected to have received their first dosage by the end of the week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
With more now eligible to receive the vaccine, thousands of pharmacies, and other distributors have been set up, including multiple state-run sites that are expected to do mass vaccinations once New York receives an additional allocation of doses from the federal government.
The first sites will open on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at the Javits Center, State Fair Expo Center in Onondaga County, and Westchester County Center, all of which will be walk-in facilities.
On Thursday, Jan. 14, a drive-thru vaccination site will open at Jones Beach on Long Island, and on Friday, Jan. 15, a walk-in site will open at SUNY Albany.
Next week, more sites are expected to open at:
- SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island;
- SUNY Binghamton in Johnson City;
- Dome Arena in Rochester;
- Plattsburgh Airport;
- SUNY Postdam;
- Utica Memorial Auditorium;
- University of Buffalo South Campus;
- Aqueduct Race Track in Queens.
Cuomo noted that all vaccinations are by appointment only, and that it could be several weeks until some are able to receive the vaccine.
“Due to the limited supply from the federal government, all New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient when scheduling appointments,” he said. “Do not show up to any vaccination site without an appointment - you will not get the vaccine.”
During his "State of the State" address on Jan. 11, Cuomo called on the federal government to increase states' supplies of the vaccine, though he noted that he expects President-elect Joe Biden's administration to move more quickly.
"Today, we're expanding our distribution network to include thousands of outlets, but the federal vaccine supply must increase. Today, we only have about one million doses in New York State for more than four million eligible people," Cuomo said. "At this rate, it will take us 14 weeks just to receive enough dosages for those currently eligible.
"So we will be scheduling appointments for vaccines weeks into the future," he continued. "We'd rather have people signed up and awaiting the vaccine than have the vaccine and not have people waiting for it.
Cuomo added: "We must be patient even though it's an inpatient time, but I believe with the new federal administration we will see the vaccine supply increase and we will be ready for that increase."
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