New groups of New Yorkers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine - though it could be some time until they are able to “get the needle into their arms.”
Beginning on Monday, Jan. 11, New York entered “phase 1B” of the state’s vaccination program, which will permit new groups to receive the oft-talked about vaccine.
In phase 1B, first responders, corrections officers, teachers, transit workers, and the general population over the age of 75 are eligible to receive their first doses.
A total of 3.2 million New Yorkers are eligible to be vaccinated in phase 1B, including:
- 870,000 educators;
- 207,000 first responders;
- 100,000 public safety workers;
- 100,000 public transit workers;
- 1.4 million people over the age of 75.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that as of Jan. 11, those who are now permitted to receive the vaccine can begin signing up online, though it could be weeks until the 3.2 million people in phase 1B are vaccinated.
“We’ll start to identify pharmacies on Monday,” Cuomo said. “You’ll be able to call the pharmacy, and you’ll get an appointment, but don’t be surprised if it’s not for three months from today. That’s based on the necessity of the supply we receive.
“Monday, you can make a reservation, but it might take up to 14 weeks,” he added. “SO we need to calibrate our expectations.”
There will also be a webinar on Jan. 11 for new providers who are looking to participate in the new network, including thousands of pharmacies, hundreds of doctor networks that qualify, large unions, and all county health departments.
“The federal government distributes the vaccine doses based by population, so New York gets its doses based on its relative population,” Cuomo said. “That’s how we’re going to distribute the vaccines at the state level, purely on the numbers by the percentage and that’s how it will be distributed locally.”
Cuomo said that he’s going to ask larger unions, such as teachers, fire and police departments, to potentially administer their own vaccines, which would be administered to them through the state.
As part of “phase 1B,” a total of 4.2 million doses are expected to be required before the vaccine becomes available to the general public.
“Let me be clear: I can argue that police officers should go first … that teachers should go first … that people over the age of 75 should go first … that corrections officers should go first … any of them,” Cuomo said. “But I will argue for none of them. I will argue for the fairness of all of them.
“No local official has the discretion to prioritize one over the other. No one can decide they want to give their vaccines to one group. This is a crisis,” Cuomo continued. “Everyone needs it, and we’re going to do it fairly. This is a valuable commodity.”
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