Feds increase vaccine eligibility, but not supply, governor says

Feds increase vaccine eligibility, but not supply, governor says
New York state coronavirus outbreak (Source: MGN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - New guidelines from the CDC will add about 2 million to the number of New Yorkers eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The problem is, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, is that the federal government is still only giving the state 300,000 doses per week.

The new guidelines lower the eligibility age from 75 to 65 and include people with compromised immunities. The governor said he will follow the guidelines to lower the eligibility age.

“This is another major change in a very short period of time,” the governor said.

Vaccinations were opened up to essential workers and those 75 and older on Monday and appointments quickly filled up because of a lack of supply.

“This federal policy is making it extraordinarily difficult,” the governor said.

The governor said 2.1 million New Yorkers were eligible under what’s called phase 1a, which is for health care workers and nursing home residents and staff.

Phase 1b started Monday, which added 3.2 million people.

The new guidance adds 1.8 million New Yorkers from 65 to 74. The governor said the number of people who are immunocompromised is not known because there is no clear definition.

“You have a population that’s eligible now of about 7 million,” Cuomo said. “We receive about 300,000 dosages a week.”

Cuomo said the federal government has not increased the state’s vaccine allocation.

“The policy and the intelligence of the federal system eludes me,” he said, “but we will do the best we can.”

The governor said the federal government is increasing the eligibility because of the new, more-infectious COVID-19 strain that was first discovered in the United Kingdom.

But, he said, “if you don’t have the vaccines to give them, I don’t know what opening up the eligibility does.”

The governor also said that state officials are starting to see a flattening in the rise of COVID-19 cases since the holidays.

He said the COVID-19 positivity rate is down slightly from its post-holiday peak.

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