NY reaches universal COVID vaccines

A man gets vaccinated against COVID-19 on Jan. 20 at the state-run vaccination site in Rochester at Dome Arena, 2695 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta. The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all New Yorkers ages 16 and older starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office

ALBANY — All New Yorkers age 16 and older can schedule an appointment to receive the coronavirus vaccine starting Tuesday morning after months of delay in ramping up supply.

A person must be 16 years old to receive a COVID vaccine. Appointments are expanded to all eligible recipients, regardless of age, at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

To make an appointment, call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX or visit am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov

“There is more risk in not taking the vaccine than in taking the vaccine,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday during the opening of a pop-up vaccination site in Rochdale Village, Queens. “The risk is not just to you, the risk is you’re going to infect your mother, your grandmother, someone else.

“...it’s about making appointments and it’s up to you to get a vaccination appointment and get a needle in your arm,” Cuomo added at a second briefing Monday afternoon.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the state’s vaccine Clinical Task Force separately approved Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose coronavirus vaccines in December. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was approved in late February, which dramatically increased the federal and state supply, allowing officials to expand eligibility to more New Yorkers waiting to get the life-saving injection.

One in three of New York’s 19 million residents have received a COVID-19 vaccine dose.

More than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered at several thousand vaccination sites statewide since Dec. 14. More than 117,418 doses were distributed in the state in the last 24 hours, according to the state tracker at covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/covid-19-vaccine-tracker.

More than 6.6 million New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose, with over 4.1 million people having a completed the COVID-19 vaccine series to date.

“No one’s asking you to go first,” Cuomo said. “Ten million New Yorkers have taken the vaccine. I’ve taken the vaccine. It is safe. We know that, so we need people to take the vaccine.”

New York has 189 pop-up vaccination sites in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, 13 mass sites including six in partnership with the federal government and sites at 69 churches statewide.

The life-saving inoculation against the novel coronavirus became available last week to people ages 30 and older on March 30.

Sandra Lindsay, a New York City critical-care nurse, was one of the first Americans to get vaccinated Dec. 14. State officials and New York residents have scrambled to procure sufficient dosages to inoculate millions of people.

The federal government’s supply, which is allocated to all U.S. states and territories by population each week, has continued to increase with several thousands of dosages over the last month.

Cuomo launched a Roll Up Your Sleeve public awareness campaign Monday with state-run advertisements to start running after vaccine appointments open to all New Yorkers on Tuesday.

COVID-19 infections have increased in certain parts of the state, bringing the state’s total to 4.3% Monday.

Western New York has the state’s highest number of new cases each day at 4.7%.

The Finger Lakes and north country regions have seen slightly elevated infection rates at 2.65% and 1.64%, respectively.

Infections are about flat in the Capital Region at 1.36%.

New York City — the global epicenter of the virus at this time last year — declined to 4.22%.

“Once people believe this is over and COVID’s not serious, the behavior changes, and you’re seeing communities where we did have problems,” Cuomo said. “It is undeniable — the behavior of a community makes a difference, wearing masks, social distancing, etc. ... As people relax with COVID, it’s a problem. Don’t get cocky with COVID. COVID wins when you get cocky. This is a formidable enemy.”

The number of New Yorkers hospitalized with the virus increased to 4,434 patients Monday, up 61 people.

Fifty-seven New Yorkers died from virus complications Easter Sunday — about flat over the last several weeks.

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