Taxi drivers, restaurant workers, and residents of developmentally disabled facilities could now be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine in New York if local governments allow it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.
So far, Nassau County has confirmed it will accept these groups to be vaccinated. Suffolk County officials have yet to announce whether they will include them.
“The county has made sure to vaccinate residents within all eligible groups, and as new populations become eligible we stand ready to incorporate them into our rigorous vaccination program,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “We have put 100 percent of doses into eligible arms and we will continue to do so.”
Cuomo added these options after a call between governors and White House officials, who will raise the federal government’s planned increase in the supply of Covid-19 vaccine to states to 20 percent over three weeks, up from a prior pledge of 16 percent.
“If a local government is now getting more and they believe in their local circumstance, they want to prioritize taxi drivers, Uber drivers because they think that’s been a problem, or developmentally disabled facilities or restaurant workers, they have that flexibility,” Cuomo said. “And again, they are getting more, so theoretically they would have additional supply to make those decisions.”
The federal government has also promised to provide additional supply to private pharmacies, which at a rate of 10 percent of a state’s total allocation will lead to another 30,000 doses allocated to New York, Cuomo said.
Still, Cuomo said the approximately 300,000 doses received each week was not enough for a state with 7 million people currently eligible for the vaccine.
“We have the distribution, we just don’t have the product. The shelves are empty,” he said.
More than 2 million vaccine doses have been administered in New York since December. Vaccination appointments at state-run sites for Monday and Tuesday were postponed due to Winter Storm Orlena and will resume Wednesday.
For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.
Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters here. Sign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.