There’s an old adage that goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It suggests a foundation on which to build a healthy life. It means staving off poor health today will keep you free of it tomorrow.

In light of this, New Yorkers age 30 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after inoculations first began in mid-December. The state expanded vaccine eligibility Monday against the novel coronavirus to include all New Yorkers ages 30 and older starting Tuesday. The best news: Universal eligibility will begin April 6 for all New Yorkers 16 and older — well ahead of the May 1 deadline set by the White House.

This is a momentous occasion in the war New York state has been waging against the novel coronavirus since last March, 384 days ago. Eligibility continues to broaden among the state’s demographics, ensuring New Yorkers of all ages will be vaccinated and, just as significant, making the vaccine accessible to every community to embrace equity for communities of color, which, as we know, have been too often left behind.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved, and the state’s vaccine Clinical Task Force separately approved, Pfizer and Moderna’s two-dose vaccines in December. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was approved last month and vastly augmented supplies at the federal and state levels. This, in turn, allowed officials to expand eligibility to more New Yorkers.

It took a comparatively short time to research and develop a COVID-19 vaccine that is dependable and safe. In sharp contrast, Louis Pasteur in 1881 helped develop a vaccine for anthrax, which was used successfully in sheep, goats and cows, but it wasn’t until 1885, while studying rabies, Pasteur tested his first human vaccine.

Revitalization of our health and our confidence in science walk hand in hand in the revitalization of communities too long underserved by a health care system they trusted. It’s happening today, if it is happening age group by age group, demographic by demographic, even neighborhood by neighborhood.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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