Coronavirus NY: Major vaccine expansion rolls out across New York

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Latest vaccine expansion in NY leads to complaints over appointments
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Lucy Yang has the latest on COVID vaccine expansion in New York.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Vaccine eligibility and availability are expanding in a huge way across New York - for all residents over 30 years of age, and also for New York City seniors over 75.

Starting Tuesday, anyone 30 or older in New York can sign up to get a coronavirus vaccine. Those residents will require an appointment.

But with eligibility expanding, it has also brought plenty of complaints. Thirty-somethings took to social media Tuesday to vent their frustrations.

They are now eligible to get the vaccine, but they can't seem to get an appointment. Not easily anyway. The system has been overrun by huge demand.

"I said the vaccine page is like a gateway to gambling addiction," artist Liz Jones said. "You have to refresh over and over again."

Jones says she spent five hours refreshing her screen before she finally snagged a spot for late May.

"It was incredibly frustrating. I was refreshing the pages for hours trying to find an appointment," she said.

And in, New York City, Citi Field, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Bathgate Postal Station have dropped appointment requirements for all residents 75 and older who can now walk up without an appointment and get inoculated.

They can even bring an escort who can also get a shot.

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Nearly 25,000 New York City public school students have opted back into in-person since the period opened two days ago.

New York City officials say the change removes a major barrier for the older population who were having trouble scheduling an appointment online.

"We want to make sure, even as more and more people get qualified, that the folks who are still in the greatest danger still get priority," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "So we're testing to see if a walk-up site, where they're the only ones who can walk up, might make it easier for some people, might incentivize some older seniors to come over and get vaccinated."

The eligibility expansion continues next week, with anyone 16 and older able to book an appointment beginning April 6.

Kemberly Richardson reports on the the vaccination expansion in New York state.

Still, the vaccine progress comes as COVID cases are on the rise in our area, with New Jersey and New York ranked 1 and 2 in new positive cases per 100,000 residents.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says rising numbers nationwide have given her a sense of quote "impending doom," and she is urging everyone to continue to follow health guidelines until the surge is under control.

"I'm going to lose the script, and I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom," she said. "I'm asking you to just hold on a little longer to get vaccinated when you can, so that all of those people that we all love was still be here when this pandemic ends."

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A year after becoming a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, New York and New Jersey are back atop the list of U.S. states with the highest rates of infection.
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