NYS releases further guidance on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility for people with comorbidities

"It’s going to be a crush"
Covid19 Vaccine
Posted at 12:47 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 17:15:02-05

NEW YORK (WKBW) — During his COVID-19 update Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released further guidance on vaccine eligibility for people with comorbidities.

Niagara Falls resident gets her vaccine at Pop Up clinic.

Cuomo announced Friday that COVID-19 vaccine eligibility would soon be expanding to accommodate those living with comorbidities and underlying health conditions.

See the complete list of comorbidities announced by New York State here. The state says the list is for anyone 16 and older.

"We're committed to vaccinating vulnerable populations that have suffered the most as we distribute a strictly limited supply of vaccines, and people with comorbidities are 94 percent of the state's COVID deaths," Cuomo said Friday.

Monday, Gov. Cuomo said those with comorbidities and underlying health conditions can begin making appointments via the NYS appointment site on February 14 for appointments beginning February 15.

Melissa DeRosa, secretary to NYS Governor at Monday's COVID briefing.

“Everybody should go into this with their eyes wide open. It’s going to be frustrating. It’s going to be a crush,” stated Melissa DeRosa, secretary to NYS Governor.

That’s the warning state leaders are giving people with pre-existing conditions who want to book an appointment starting this Sunday.

To validate you are eligible to receive the vaccine you will need to provide one of the following:

  • A doctor's letter
  • Medical information evidencing a comorbidity
  • A signed certification
Governor Andrew Cuomo during Monday's COIVD briefing.

“There will be validation of the comorbiditiy — people will need to bring a doctor's letter or medical information,” Cuomo stated.

Cuomo said the federal government failed to order enough vaccine last year and that's why ten million New Yorkers are chasing just 300,000

Cuomo admits appointments will book quickly.

“This is going to be a long, anxiety producing time,” remarked Cuomo.

DeRosa said they have worked to clear up earlier appointment glitches on the state health department website but warned it won't be perfect

“There are going to problems — it is not going to be perfect and everyone is going to do their best to try in real time catch glitches and get things up and running, but it's going to be a tough period here,” DeRosa explained.

Pop up vaccine clinic in Niagara Falls.

The governor said it will be up to local health departments to determine how, where and when to schedule appointments at vaccination sites not run by the state.

Local health departments will also be responsible for determining which option it will accept for validation.

The state will audit the local system with Tiberius federal data and says it will be reaching to the counties and local health departments to explain this process.

Governor Cuomo at Monday's briefing.

A spokesperson for the Erie County Health Department tells 7 Eyewitness News they are still trying to reschedule appointments canceled in January due to a lack of supply and that could take several more weeks, but when they are ready — they will follow the state's direction on prioritizing groups.