Coronavirus NY: More groups of health care workers now eligible for COVID vaccine

Coronavirus Update for New York
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Monday is the day health care workers who are not hospital workers -- who are in private practice or work in clinics -- have begun getting their vaccines in New York City and New York State.

The news comes as officials say the vaccine rollout is not going fast enough.

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So far only about 203,000 New Yorkers statewide have gotten their shots.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said COVID vaccines would also be available to individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff, ambulatory centers staff, home care and hospice workers, and other congregate setting staff and residents.

Meantime, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that testing site workers, contact tracers, outpatients and ambulatory care providers, dentists, physical therapists, workers at specialized clinics, and NYPD medical staff are also all now eligible for the vaccine in New York City.

Starting January 11, home care workers, hospice workers, and more nursing home staff will be eligible for the COVID vaccine in the city.

Mayor de Blasio said that the city is ramping up its efforts by opening three vaccination centers for health care workers.

"This is the shape of things to come, you're going to see a lot more like this, using public school buildings as hubs for a larger community so in Brooklyn at the Bushwick educational campus, Queens at Hillcrest High School, the Bronx and South Bronx educational campus. This starts Sunday. This is a model to start getting us to the grassroots we can make so much impact," de Blasio said.

"But as the mayor said we must do more together. Overall, our plan is to double the current capacity of about 125 sites where New Yorkers are being vaccinated today to at least 250 sites, by the end of the month," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi said.

For information on how to get vaccinated in NYC, Dr. Chokshi said to visit nyc.gov/covidvaccine.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sent Vice President Mike Pence a letter outlining the city's vaccine requests to the federal government.

De Blasio's requests included the following:

- Support increased speed of vaccine manufacturing to increase overall supply by pre-purchasing additional doses.

- Allocate additional vaccine doses to New York City and other commuter jurisdictions who are vaccinating more than their residents.

- Provide greater advance notice of dose allocation quantity and delivery schedule for planning purposes.

- Accelerate the dissemination of vaccine through coordinated pharmacy distribution.

- Incentivize and support providers through technical assistance and financial support.

- FDA approval to pre-fill syringes with vaccine.

New York State over the weekend reached 1,000,000 COVID cases since the pandemic began, and the state's 7-day average test positivity rate is more than 8%.

The city's 7-day average test positivity rate is even higher, at 9%.

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Gov. Cuomo vowed that he will not take the COVID-19 vaccine until it is available for his group in Black, Hispanic and poor communities.



Governor Cuomo said Monday that he is not pleased with the rate of the vaccine rollout. NY Presbyterian has given 99% of its vaccines while H+H hospitals have administered just 31%. The state average is 46%.

"You have the allocation, we want it in people's arms as soon as possible. New York State Department of Health sent out a letter yesterday to all hospitals, that said if you don't use the allocation by the end of this week, you can be fined and you won't receive further allocations. We will use other hospitals that can administer it better," Cuomo said.

A spokesperson for the mayor released a statement a short time later saying, "Threatening to 'revoke' the 'privilege' of vaccination from H+H is punitive & unnecessary. Mayor de Blasio has been clear that H+H must show momentum and get as many vaccines in arms as possible as we wait for NYS to allow more people to be vaccinated."

Meantime, on Sunday the governor said he wants to make sure the distribution of the vaccine is fair and equitable, and that's why he's holding off on getting his shot.

"We should be concerned about fair distribution," Cuomo said. "You know the COVID virus ravaged us, but the COVID virus also showed us the underlying in justices that we have in society, the social racial economic injustices."

"I'm not going to take the vaccine until the same people are eligible, and it is available in the black and Hispanic in poor communities in this state," he continued.

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