(The Center Square) – Starting this weekend, New York will allow individuals with comorbidities or other preexisting conditions to begin registering for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. However, state officials preached Monday that residents will need to be patient as they try to get a shot.
That’s because, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo explained, there will be 10 million New Yorkers now eligible for the 300,000 doses the state expects to receive on a weekly basis. That’s enough to cover just 3 percent of the population that can receive the vaccine each week.
“We can only administer as many doses as the federal supply allows, and we’re continuing to fight for more every day,” the governor said at his daily briefing.
Those eligible will be adults with the following conditions: cancer, either active or in remission; developmental disabilities; pulmonary, liver or kidney diseases; heart ailments; immunocompromised issues, including HIV or organ transplant recipient; diabetes; pregnancy; obesity; sickle cell; cerebrovascular disease; and neurological conditions, such as dementia.
The state will let those individuals set up appointments on Sunday for spots at state-run vaccination centers, and the first people in the category can get their shots as soon as Feb. 15.
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor, said the state portal has undergone changes, but she said there are still hundreds of thousands of people trying to access it daily to get an appointment. And on Sunday, the state expects more people to sign on.
“Everybody should go into this with their eyes wide open,” she said. “It’s going to be frustrating. It is going to be a crush. There are going to be problems. It is not going to be perfect, and everyone’s going to do their best to try to in real time catch glitches and get things up and running.”
The state will also let local health departments use their excess vaccines from the hospital workers’ supply to inoculate those with preexisting conditions. They cannot start reaching those communities until the state opens up its centers for that group as well.
Local officials will provide details on when they will start offering the remaining doses, she added.
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Currently New York has administered about 90 percent of the vaccines it has received.
Because the state expects high demand for the shots, they will audit records. Those seeking a shot because of an existing condition must show some type of proof, such as a doctor’s letter when they arrive for their appointment.
Cuomo also confirmed that indoor dining in New York City, originally set to start Sunday, will now start on Friday instead. The establishments still must abide by the 25 percent seating capacity requirement.