By Barrett Seaman–
The State continues to expand both the population of those eligible to receive a COVID vaccine and the vehicles for delivering it. The latest group, already eligible at state-run vaccine sites, are residents over 16 years of age with comorbidities. On Sunday, the Governor announced that these people may now make appointments with private pharmacies, which had previously been limited to vaccinate people 60 and older.
As they do at state-run sites, residents with comorbidities must show evidence: either a doctor’s letter or signed certification or other medical information demonstrating the condition.
The State defines qualifying comorbidities as:
- Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery
- disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
- Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
- Liver disease
As the supply of vaccine doses coming into the state has increased, the state has broadened recipient categories. Until March 17, pharmacies were limited to vaccinating seniors 65 and over. On that day, the age limit dropped to 60 and teachers of any age were added—an expansion that allowed the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow clinic on Saturday, March 20 to vaccinate nearly 700.
On March 17, Cuomo announced that appointments are open at 10 new state-run mass vaccination sites across the state. The following day, he announced 16 community-based pop-up vaccination sites will be coming online over the next week at churches, public housing developments and community centers across the state. These sites are expected to vaccinate more than 4,500 people throughout the week.