Expanded eligibility for vaccine causes mass confusion


RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that New Yorkers who have comorbidities or underlying conditions are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. When it comes to scheduling an appointment, many say confusion has been the name of the game.

“Across the state, both local health departments and state-run mass vaccination sites are beginning to vaccinate New Yorkers with comorbidities and other health conditions. At the state-run sites, appointments were allocated based on a number of factors — most importantly the limited supply of vaccine provided by the federal government — and in just 24 hours, over 250,000 new appointments were booked. We will continue to release more appointments statewide as supply allows.”

New York State Department of Health

“Everybody right now lives in a Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon world. You order something and it’s on our door step next day. This is not that; the shots are just not there,” said Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin.  

Governor Cuomo says it can be even more confusing when the vaccine is being distributed over a dozen different ways throughout the state. The Governor says, with very limited supply, this problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

“Because the vaccine system is set up the way it is, it’s not really going to end until you have increased dosages. When we have increased dosages, that extensive distribution network will wind up being a positive and not a negative,” he said.

People with underlying conditions and comorbidities can make an appointment at a state mass vaccination site. They can also schedule an appointment at their local county health department if they have the doses.

McLaughlin says Rensselaer County is ready to do so but doesn’t have enough shots.

“So in reality, we have 500 shots. Three hundred of those for are essential workers, 100 are for developmentally disabled, and 100 are for underlying conditions. I think it’s absurd,” he said.

McLaughlin says it’s important to remain calm, and you can email the county about getting a vaccine.

“You can email us at renscovax@gmail.com. You can put in bold letters at top: I have an underlying condition or I’m an essential worker or I’m elderly,” he said.

Local officials say to keep checking your county health departments for available vaccination appointments. You can also check the New York’s State Health website for mass state vaccination sites availability.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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