NY expands COVID vaccine eligibility to those 30+ on Tuesday; 16+ next week
ALBANY – New York is set to dramatically expand the pool of people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Anyone 30 or older will be permitted to set up a vaccination appointment beginning 8 a.m. Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
Then, on April 6, anyone 16 or older will be eligible.
The expanded eligibility will put the state in line with a recently announced mandate from the White House that all adults be made eligible by May 1.
"Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID," Cuomo said in a statement.
Nearly 1/5 of NYers vaccinated
As of Monday, more than 9 million vaccination doses had been administered in New York. About 17% of New York residents are fully vaccinated.
The eligibility expansion comes as New York faced dire threats to its progress against COVID-19, with coronavirus variants looming and new infections surging after drastic declines from the second-wave peak in January.
New coronavirus cases leaped 64% in New York in the week ending Sunday, with 67,963 new cases reported compared to 41,406 a week earlier.
The surge ranked New York first among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data showed.
"COVID continues to rear its ugly head across New York State, and while hospitalization and vaccination metrics continue to trend in the right direction, this pandemic isn't done with us yet," Cuomo said in a statement Monday.
Dozens of states opening eligibility
Prior to Monday, Cuomo resisted calls to join dozens of other states opening up vaccine eligibility at an accelerated pace. He often noted more than 10 million New Yorkers are currently eligible while demand for shots outpaced the weekly allocations of vaccine from the federal government.
Last week, Cuomo expanded eligibility to ages 50 and older, asserting it was made possible because the state's weekly shipment of vaccine was poised to double to more than 800,000 doses.
15 million NYers will be eligible
There are about 15 million New Yorkers who will be eligible for vaccines once eligibility is fully opened to ages 16 and older.
Before New York's announcement Monday, USA TODAY reported that of the 28 states that have either opened eligibility to all or will do so in the next two weeks, 17 have below-average adult vaccination rates, according to figures available Sunday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Eleven lagged other states on fully inoculating those 65 and older, one of the highest-risk groups.
New York is far from the leader in administrating vaccines, records show: It ranked 21st among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with nearly 30% of its residents at least partially vaccinated.
Still, New York is better than the national vaccine rate, which is about 28%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data showed.
Those who are eligible will be able to schedule appointments by utilizing New York's 'Am I Eligible' website or by calling the state's COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
Joseph Spector of the New York State Team contributed to this report.
Jon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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