New York expanding COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to diabetics, cancer patients, others with underlying conditions

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(WSYR-TV) — Melissa DeRosa, secretary to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, took to Twitter on Friday and released a list of people eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting on Feb. 15.

Adults of any ages with the following conditions can be eligible for the vaccine:

  • Cancer — current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease — including, but not limited to, COPD, asthma, 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
  • Immunocompromised state — 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 greater than or equal to 40 kg/m^2
  • Obesity — BMI of 30 kg/m^2 or higher, but less than 40 kg/m^2
  • Pregnancy
  • 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

According to DeRosa, the list is subject to change as “additional scientific evidence is published and as New York State obtains and analyzes additional state specific data.”

An estimated 1.7 million New Yorkers have diabetes and, as of 2018, more than 108,000 New Yorkers had HIV.

“New Yorkers with comorbidities and underlying conditions exist throughout the state’s population—they’re our teachers, lawyers and carpenters, in addition to the doctors who keep us safe every day, and they are a highly affected population,” Governor Cuomo said. “We’re committed to vaccinating vulnerable populations that have suffered the most as we distribute a strictly limited supply of vaccines, and people with comorbidities are 94 percent of the state’s COVID deaths. That’s why we’ll open eligibility to people with comorbidities starting February 15 and give hospitals the ability to use extra doses they have to address that population. Local governments have a week to prepare for the new change—they need to get ready now.”

Others eligible for the vaccine in New York include:

Eligible New Yorkers in Phase 1a and 1b are:
  • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff)
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities
  • Federally Qualified Health Center employees
  • EMS workers
  • Coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers
  • Staff and residents at OPWDD, OMH and OASAS facilities
  • Urgent Care providers
  • Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff
  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care
  • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • This includes, but is not limited to,
    • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff 
    • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff
    • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff
    • Registered Nurses
    • Specialty medical practices of all types
    • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff
    • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff
    • Physical Therapists and their staff
    • Optometrists and their staff
    • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides
    • Home care workers
    • Hospice workers
  • Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program
Beginning January 11, 2021:
  • Individuals Age 65 and older
  • First Responder and Support Staff for First Responder Agencies
    • Fire Service
      • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
      • Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
    • Police and Investigators
      • State Police, including Troopers
      • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
      • SUNY Police
      • Sheriffs’ Offices
      • County Police Departments and Police Districts
      • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
      • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments
      • State Field Investigators, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services, and State Liquor Authority
    • Public Safety Communications
      • Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
    • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
      • Court Officers
      • Other Police or Peace Officers
      • Support or Civilian Staff for Any of the above services, agencies, or facilities
  • Corrections
    • State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Personnel, including correction and parole officers
    • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
    • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
    • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • In-person college instructors
  • P-12 Schools
    • P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff and support staff including bus drivers)
    • Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
  • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Providers
  • Employees or Support Staff of Licensed or Registered Childcare Setting
  • Grocery store workers
  • Public Transit
    • Airline and airport employees
    • Passenger railroad employees
    • Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
    • Ferry employees
    • Port Authority employees
    • Public bus employees
  • Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of the same household
  • Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents

Step 1: Determine eligibility and schedule an appointment. Vaccines are available at pharmacies, hospitals and through local health departments statewide – please contact your provider of choice to schedule your vaccine appointment.

Additionally, there is a network of State-run sites distributing vaccine statewide – to determine eligibility and schedule appointments at New York State-run vaccination sites only, use the Am I Eligible app. You can also call the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

Due to extremely limited supply from the federal government, it may be 14 or more weeks before an appointment is available.  

Step 2: Complete the Vaccine Form. Once you have a confirmed appointment, you must complete the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form can be completed online and you will receive a submission ID, or can be completed at your vaccination site. (We encourage New Yorkers to complete the form ahead of time.)

Step 3: Bring proof of eligibility to your appointment. When you go to your vaccination site for your appointment, you must bring proof of eligibility. This may include an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a pay stub, depending on the specific priority status. If you are eligible due to age, you should bring a form of ID (like a Driver’s License or passport) that includes your date of birth. You will need to complete a clinical questionnaire form at the time of your appointment.

Step 4: Schedule your second appointment in-person at your vaccination site. You must schedule an appointment to get your second shot at your vaccination site, in-person, immediately after getting your first shot. Remember: Both vaccines require two doses for effectiveness.

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