Updated: New York will provide the Covid-19 vaccine to people over 65 and those with compromised immune systems, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday, though he complained about a lack of clarity on what health problems would be included.
The Centers for Disease Control announced the changes in eligibility earlier Tuesday.
Problems were immediately apparent.
Well-known science writer Laurie Garrett, formerly of Newsday, wrote on Twitter, “@NYGovCuomo announced that anybody >65 yrs old can get a #COVID19 #vaccine. I signed up & was sent an email assigning me to 9:30am today. That email arrived at 12:20pm — 3 hours AFTER the time. Vaccination chaos! Now I assume the system will forever refuse me vax?”
The state’s eligility app confirmed that a caller was eligible, based on age, and directed her to a site that listed vaccine providers. After several attempts, the caller was put on a waiting list for the vaccine.
At 12:13 p.m., NYU Langone texted patients at its Huntington medical center on Pulaski Road to announce that it had supplies of the vaccine and that it would text patients when they were eligible.
The available supply of vaccinations also had Cuomo concerned.
Referring to New York State, he said, “That is a population of 7 million New Yorkers. 1A was 2.1. 1B was 3.2. You just added 1.8. The immunocompromised number we don’t even have yet because it depends on how you define it, but you have a population that’s eligible now of about 7 million.
“We receive 300,000 dosages per week That has not changed. The federal government didn’t give us an additional allocation. That’s 300,000 per week. How do you effectively serve 7 million people all of whom are now eligible, without any priority?
“So in other words if I’m 90 years old, I’m in the same class as a person who is 65-plus. If I’m 90 years old and I have cancer and heart disease, I’m in the same category as a person who is 65-plus.
“Nurses and doctors who still haven’t been vaccinated, and there is hundreds of thousands who haven’t been vaccinated are now in the category of 7 million, so the policy and the intelligence of the federal system alludes me. But we will do the best we can but this is a – I happen to be Christian – loaves and fishes situation. 7 million eligible people, 300,000 dosages per week, and 7 million people who desperately want the vaccine quickly.”
The change in policy came as people bragged on social media about having received a vaccine or even an appointment to receive one, and friends applauded them.
Others complained about the difficulty of getting through on the state hotline to schedule a vaccination or being directed to sites dozens of miles away to receive the vaccination.