ALBANIA – Immunocompromised New Yorkers and people 65 and older have been added to the state’s eligibility to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
He encouraged residents to expect even longer than expected waits after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded guidelines for prioritizing vaccines on Tuesday morning.
Dealers will continue to prioritize vaccines initially for the state’s 2.1 million healthcare workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic or in Group 1A. Eligibility was extended to New Yorkers in Group 1B on Monday, including approximately 1.4 million people aged 75 and over. 870,000 education workers; 207,000 police officers and firefighters; 100,000 public safety and 100,000 transit workers.
The addition of immunocompromised New Yorkers and people 65 and over to the second group is an addition of 1.8 million people, or about 7.1 million combined 1A and 1B. The federal government continues to send around 300,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna-approved COVID-19 vaccines to New York every week.
At the current rate, vaccination of the second group takes more than 23 weeks, or about six months.
“This is another major change in a very short space of time,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning. “It seems that change with the CDC is constant. To be honest, I look forward to the in-depth administration to get this under control. This federal policy makes it extremely difficult. “
The CDC has not defined who or what conditions apply to immunocompromised patients. Health professionals classify immunocompromised diseases differently, but can include cancer patients and chronic diseases such as heart disease, sickle cell anemia, asthma and diabetes, pregnancy and smoking, among others.
“Immunocompromised is a category that can be defined in a number of ways,” said Cuomo. “That has to be defined.”
The state first opened the eligibility on Monday with the ability to schedule an appointment to vaccinate New Yorkers age 75 and older with the highest COVID-19 death rate. The schedule was immediately expanded to New Yorkers over 65 on Tuesday.
“There are hundreds of thousands of nurses and doctors who have not yet been vaccinated,” Cuomo said. “The politics and the intelligence of the federal system elude me, but we will do our best.”
Visit wdt.me/ covid_eligible to check your eligibility and to reserve a vaccination appointment.
Many people reported difficulties using the website on the first Monday day, including freezing or other technical issues as the website was overcrowded with visitors.
The federal government is storing the second doses of the vaccine on the assumption that the second injections will be given to other eligible Americans who want a first shot and then have no more to complete the first patients’ vaccinations against COVID-19.
“This debate continues,” said the governor of the federal government holding second vaccine doses. “They haven’t said what, if anything, and we’re still only getting 300,000 doses a week.”
The Commissioner responsible for the Ministry of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker and Secretary to Governor Melissa DeRosa received no update from federal officials about the additional vaccine supply.
“They didn’t give us any additional information … we didn’t hear how much we were going to increase the dosage,” DeRosa said, adding in the federal COVID-19 response last spring, “Dealing with in many ways the federal government right now is like a déjà vu … the information is incorrect or out of date. They expect the local people to make massive political and operational changes in the blink of an eye. They feel political pressure and at the same time little guidance or information to implement it. “
Regardless of vaccine supply issues, the state will accept federal guidelines, the governor said.
“I don’t want New Yorkers to believe we are not doing anything to prevent them from qualifying for the vaccine,” said Cuomo. “I want to keep the people of New York as calm as possible so we can keep people in these anxious times.”
The state opened thousands of distribution locations this week, including pharmacies, county health departments, doctor’s offices, and state-qualified health centers, to help expedite vaccine adoption.
“The whole distribution system is open, but at the end of the day you only have 300,000 (weekly) doses for a population of 7 million on the other side,” said Cuomo.
The state has reported 12 cases of the B117 variant of the novel coronavirus, which were first discovered in the UK last month. The variant is supposedly 70% more transferable.
To date, 80 B117 cases have been discovered in the nation. Three state cases of the variant have been found in Saratoga County, with the first confirmed case last week related to an outbreak at a Saratoga Springs jewelry store.
The nationwide COVID-19 infection rate on Tuesday was 7.6% excluding hot spots – roughly unchanged after fluctuating between 6.7% and close to 8% for much of the past week.
Hospital admissions increased 291 virus patients to 8,926 New Yorkers, but declined after the end of the 37-day holiday season and the escalated social gatherings that began with Thanksgiving on November 26th.
About 0.07% of the population in the Mohawk Valley and Finger Lakes are hospitalized with COVID-19. The state reported that 0.05% of the capital region’s population has been hospitalized, while 0.04% has so far been hospitalized in the north of the country.
The state reported that 164 New Yorkers died from coronavirus complications on Monday, declining slightly but also roughly flat from last week.
The Finger Lakes, Capital Region, and Long Island each have an average COVID infection rate of about 9% within seven days, with the highest 9.5% in the state in the Mohawk Valley.
West New York and the North Country each have an average positive value of 7.6%, and New York has an average value of 5.9%.
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