NEW York has lowered the threshold of vaccine eligibility starting Tuesday, March 30 as New Yorkers 30 years old and older will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This eligibility will expand further to include all adults 16 years and older starting April 6, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
This, as the state of New York reached a milestone of 50,000 coronavirus deaths and New York is second in the nation for highest number of coronavirus infections per capita. Both New York and New Jersey have recorded the country’s fastest rises in coronavirus cases recently, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Despite the expansion however, there are people who are frustrated with the online booking system to get the appointment. A Filipino-American woman has been spending a couple of hours a day to try and book an appointment to no avail.
“I want to remind everyone, you can go to vax4nyc.nyc.gov, and that’s how you can book a reservation for an appointment, or you can call 877-VAX-4NYC, and again, it’s not perfect by any stretch, but we’ve had almost four million vaccinations. So, something is working for a lot of people, thank God,” Mayor de Blasio said in his press briefing on Tuesday, March 30.
De Blasio also called on New Yorkers to continue being safe specially in the coming Easter where families traditionally gather to celebrate.
“It’s so important to understand, this is the last time we’re going to be dealing with COVID the way we have for the last year. Every day we’re making progress, but we’re not there yet,” De Blasio said. “So, during this holiday time, everyone should focus on safety. Still keep the gathering small, observe social distancing, wear a mask.”
NYC Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi echoed the mayor’s message of staying in groups that are in the single digits (and outdoors, if possible) as he reiterated his safe six reminders.
“Our practical advice revolves around what you’ve heard me talk about as the safe six – masking, maintaining a physical distance, hand-washing, staying home if you’re ill, getting tested, and getting vaccinated when it’s your turn,” Chokshi said.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy announced last Friday, March 26, the expansion of eligibility for more frontline essential workers and high-risk groups in New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccination program.
Eligible groups include individuals ages 55-64, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and staff, and communications and utility infrastructure workers among others.
The state is hoping to meet its goal of vaccinating 4.7 million New Jersey adults. Mayor de Blasio’s target on the other hand is five million adult New Yorkers fully vaccinated by June and NYC is on track to reach a total of 4 million shots this week.
“Our Administration has worked closely with communities to build an extensive vaccination infrastructure and has opened over 700 vaccination sites across the state,” said Murphy. “We are already averaging approximately half a million shots per week, and with an expected increase in our federal allocation, we are confident we can expand our vaccination program to more of our essential workers and vulnerable populations.”