COVID-19 Vaccine Available to New Group: 75+ and Essential Workers

Vaccination form. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

As of today, Monday, January 11th, the COVID-19 vaccine is available to the so called group 1B, which includes the elderly and essential workers, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced. Because the federal supply of the vaccine remains limited, and it would not be wise to get COVID-19 while on line for the vaccine, individuals are asked to book appointments ahead of time, and should be prepared to wait up to two weeks to receive it. 

About 2.1 million New Yorkers have been eligible to receive the vaccine in group 1A, which includes critical health workers, seniors living in care homes. Officials estimate group 1B has an additional 2 million people across the state, for a total of about 4 million people eligible to get vaccinated. While hospitals will continue vaccinating those in group 1A, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, county health departments, as well as ambulatory services will help vaccinate those in Group 1B.

Inside a vaccination site. Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

The availability of vaccination sites is also expected to grow. Currently, there is just one mass vaccination site in Brooklyn – at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park that is open 24/7, by appointment. The NYS Department of Health plans on launching 20 mass distribution sites over the next couple of weeks across the state. On Wednesday, the Jacob K. Javits Center in Tribeca is expected to open to vaccinate eligible individuals across all five boroughs. 

There are smaller sites that are vaccinating eligible residents across Brooklyn.  

According to the NYC Department of Health Vaccine Finder, as of today, many other smaller sites are offering vaccines, such as the COSTCO Pharmacy at 976 3rd Ave, 11232 and Rite Aid Pharmacy at 8222, 18th Ave, 11214 and the RendrCare: Janlian Medical Group on 833 58th St, 11220 and the Ezra Medical Center for Women’s Health on 1278, 60th St, 11219. 

Individuals should also contact their healthcare providers, as many providers may begin to also have access to the vaccine.  To get more information on how to get vaccinated or book an appointment, New Yorkers can begin calling the New York State Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829), which will become available Monday at 4 pm, or visit https://vaccinepod.nyc.gov/Anyone can check their eligibility by using the new ‘Am I Eligible’ application before making an appointment. 

While vaccine finder it is a great tool for locating where the vaccine is administered around the city, it is a tool that just aggregates all provider data,  Commissioner Jessica Tisch of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications said at this morning’s press conference, however, “each provider does manage its own schedules, its own registration, and its own appointments”. 

Unfortunately, the process to sign up for vaccination is not as straightforward as was hoped, which NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer points out in the following Twitter thread

 

 

 

Mayor Bill De Blasio addressed these concerns this morning saying that “Our elders, folks over 75 years old. Some of them are great online. Others really don’t feel comfortable online. So, we need to have a phone reservation system as well.” 

Alongside the statewide hotline, individuals who live in the five boroughs also have access to a citywide hotline where they can call to get information and make appointments. The city-specific hotline is 877-VAX-4NYC, or 877-829-4692. The system operates from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm each day, but will be upgraded to 24-hour service in the upcoming weeks as more staff is recruited. As of now, 750 customer service representatives are on call, a number that Mayor de Blasio hopes to keep increasing. 

Councilmember Mark Treyger is also calling for multilingual outreach efforts from the city to its elderly.   

Want to know if you are eligible? You can check here, ‘Am I Eligible’ , and here is the list of those who can make appointments to get vaccinated right now part of 1B:

  • Individuals Age 75 and older
  • First Responders and Support Staff of First Responder Agencies
  • Fire Service
  • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
  • Local Fire Service, 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 Service, 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 of Civilian Staff of 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
  • 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)
  • In-Person College Instructors
  • Employees or Support Staff of Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Child Care Setting
  • Licensed, Registered, Approved or Legally Exempt Childcare Providers
  • In-Person College Instructors 
  • Public-Facing 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 employee
  • Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your the same household
  • Individuals 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

New Yorkers who fall underneath these categories are eligible to book an appointment to receive the vaccine and are advised to do so as soon as possible. 

“After ten long months, the expansion of eligibility for additional New Yorkers to begin making their COVID-19 vaccination plan is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Governor Cuomo said.  The vaccine is the weapon that will end the war, and as we continue to prioritize healthcare workers as hospital capacity necessitates, New York is proud to have reached this milestone and we strongly encourage all who are newly eligible to schedule their free vaccination appointment as soon as possible.” 

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