ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State will expand eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Tuesday.
Those who are 16 years of age and older will be eligible to register for an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Tuesday at 8 a.m.
Those 30 years of age and older became eligible last Tuesday.
New York is one of the final states to open up vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older.
Dr. Nancy Nielsen, the lead for the Western New York Vaccination Planning Team, and Dr. Thomas Russo, the Chief of Infectious Disease at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, said the expansion is a direct result of increased supply of the vaccine.
"I think what they're trying to do is match the demand to the supply. Now the supply is really rolling," Dr. Nielsen said.
"We want to make sure that we individuals that want to get vaccinated that are eligible at this point to continue to get vaccines into arms as soon as possible," Dr. Russo said.
Dr. Nielsen said it will be less challenging to make an appointment even through the pool of eligible people is growing.
"I think it will be easier now, not because the eligibility has changed, but because the vaccine is coming more predictably. For example, our local health departments just got notified by the state that they know exactly what they get for the next three weeks plus they may get more than that. It's predictable now where it was really not predictable before," Dr. Nielsen said.
She said the vaccine will be more accessible as well.
"A lot more pharmacies got doses and doctors who have never gotten any are getting them for the very first time," Dr. Nielsen said.
Dr. Russo said that's the key to combating vaccine hesitancy.
"There is a certain segment of the population that is somewhat hesitant about getting vaccinated. Being able to have a discussion with their trusted health care provider will be critical to giving them the information for them to make the best possible decision," Dr. Russo said.