ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New legislation will improve New York’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor has signed a package that will take major steps forward in the State’s efforts to increase vaccination rates, crackdown on fraudulent use of vaccination records while studying the effects of the pandemic on our economy and health care system.

Officials say new laws will help improve New York’s response to the pandemic while understanding areas of improvement to be made to our health care system, preparing us further down the road. This bill will improve medical access for New Yorkers, especially those in public hospitals that rely on ambulatory care.

Schools will have improved access to the statewide immunization database, requiring the Department of Health (DOH) to allow every school access to the immunization records for their students. Further legislation will add clarification which makes the falsification of COVID-19 Vaccination Cards a class A misdemeanor and also creates a new E felony of computer tampering.

The legislation will allow the Department of Financial Services to conduct a study on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on underbanked and underserved areas, small businesses, and minority- and women-owned business enterprises getting loans. Areas they say hit hardest during the pandemic.