Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens to Essential Workers, Elderly on Long Island

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Certain essential workers and seniors are now eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine on Long Island. 

All New Yorkers who fall in Phase 1B can make an appointment to receive the vaccine starting Monday, Jan. 11. This includes teachers and education workers, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, public-facing grocery store workers, and homeless individuals sharing accommodations with others. As of Tuesday, residents 65 and older are also eligible after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance from allowing seniors 75 and older to 65 and older to get the vaccine.

“We know that the vaccine is the best way to defeat this virus,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said at a news briefing on Saturday. “… So getting the word out to eligible groups on where they can get the vaccine is key.”

Nassau now has two county-run vaccine centers at Nassau Community College in Uniondale and Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury. Residents can check their eligibility and make appointments at those centers, as well as at Nassau University Medical Center, here.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has been directing residents to Northwell Health’s website, which lists six Suffolk locations and seven Nassau locations to get the vaccine. Residents can check their eligibility, find those locations, and make appointments here.

“Given high demand and limited supply of the vaccine at this time, appointments may be limited,” Bellone said in a statement, “but Suffolk County has the capacity to provide vaccines soon as they are available.”

If there are no available appointments, officials said to keep checking back, as they will be added on a rolling basis. There will also be more locations added in the coming weeks.

The vaccination of residents in Phase 1B is operating simultaneously with the vaccination of all patient-facing healthcare workers (Phase 1A). Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that Phase 1B would start Monday after other elected officials, such as Curran and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, called for eligibility to open to first responders.

But more eligible groups means more supply is needed — and ultimately, vaccine supply depends on the federal government, which since December, has been distributing the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines proportionately by population to each state. 

As of now, New York receives about 300,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses per week; at that rate, Cuomo said, it will take the state 16 weeks — ending on or about April 16 — to fully vaccinate all people eligible in Phases 1A and 1B, provided they all elect to receive it.

“Hopefully the supply increases. We’re working with the Biden team on moving the supply out as quickly as possible,” Cuomo said, referring to talks with the incoming president. It was reported Friday that Biden plans to release additional doses of the vaccine, currently on reserve, upon taking office on Jan. 20 to speed up the vaccination process.

Curran noted on Saturday that the Nassau Community College site had already administered more than 1,000 vaccines since its opening on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

“This is just the beginning of our effort to ramp up vaccination,” Curran said, “… If you want to get it and you’re eligible, please roll up your sleeve and get the vaccine.”

For more information, visit the New York State Department of Health website at covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or, starting 4 p.m. Jan. 11, call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

-With Robert Pozarycki

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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