ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State will be reaching a major milestone in the race to vaccinate with universal vaccinations. Starting April 6, 16-year-olds and older will be eligible to get the shot.
The state opened up eligibility March 30th, to those who are 30 years and older. “We have reported many times the group between 20 and 30 are very important because they have been our highest percentage of test positivity since this started,” says Albany County Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Whalen.
According to the NYS COVID vaccine tracker website, a little over 40% of Albany county residents have already received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “I think we’re ready to meet the challenge,” says Dr. Whalen.
Local county leaders say they’re ready to put more shots in arms, in fact they have been asking the state for a while now to open up the eligibility. “Everything is manageable right now. Now it’s just about speed. It’s about getting as many people that want the shot giving them the shot as quickly as we possibly can,” says Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin.
“We had the demand, but we didn’t have the supply. Now we have the supply, and we were categorizing [we’re] trapped into a certain group and now there’s not going to be issues. We’re seeing more and more people that we can vaccinate and that’s going to fill the slots,” says Albany County Executive Dan McCoy.
16 and 17-year-olds can only get the Pfizer vaccine. Health officials say its the only one approved right now for that age group. “If you’re looking to have your 16-year-old vaccinated you want to make sure that the pod you’re signing up for…the vaccination site you’re signing up for is Pfizer,” says Dr. Whalen. Parental permission is required for booking vaccine appointments for 16 to 18-year-olds.