By Barrett Seaman—
There are literally tens of thousands of Westchester residents who are eligible to receive a COVID vaccine but have been unable to land an appointment going by the book through the state’s authorized system. And then there are anecdotes by the dozen of people, some of whom aren’t even eligible yet, happening on the right web site at the right time and getting a first dose in a matter of days. The Gothamist web site has an entire story of people waiting all day outside New York City vaccination sites, ineligible and without an appointment, in order to get the unused doses left over from that day’s scheduled appointments.
It’s frustrating, and it sometimes isn’t fair.
By every indication, however, it will get better as dosage deliveries increase and new sites open up. Here’s a tip on how to go about securing an appointment at the Yonkers 1,000-shots-a-day mega-site that opened for local residents on Wednesday but will open up to all Westchester residents next Wednesday morning, March 3rd, at 8:00 a.m.
At the moment, only residents of seven zip codes within Yonkers are eligible. Even if someone outside those zip codes—a resident of Dobbs Ferry or Irvington, for example—wants to make an appointment for after March 3rd, they will fail.
Before you even have the chance to say you are only looking for a spot after the 3rd, the program will have rejected you. Log onto the state’s threshold “Am I Eligible” web page (am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.) and fill out the questionnaire—Date of Birth, Sex, Do you live in New York…(so far, so good). But then you get to Zip Code. If it’s not one of the anointed seven in Yonkers, the program will automatically eliminate Yonkers—not outright, but when you press the “Submit” button and go to the list of providers, the same old set of 13 state-run sites will show up, in order of their distance from your zip code—but not the new Yonkers site.
In the county’s bi-weekly COVID briefing Thursday, Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins solved the puzzle. Until 8:00 a.m. on March 3rd, only residents from those seven Yonkers zip codes will be given access to the new site. Immediately after 8:00 a.m. on that day, however, the program will begin recognizing all Westchester zip codes, and the Yonkers site will appear—most likely as the second closest site after the County Center.
Now that we’ve told everybody, the rush will be on, so go early—and good luck.