Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that all New Yorkers aged over 50 will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow.
Cuomo said at a press briefing at the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon Monday that he is expanding the current eligibility to include anyone aged 50 and over, starting Tuesday at 8 am.
‘Tomorrow, vaccines will be available for people 50 years old and above,’ Cuomo said.
‘So we are dropping the age as we’re vaccinating more people.
‘Tomorrow morning, 50 and above, make your appointment and get your vaccine.’
Currently, more than 12 million New Yorkers are eligible to get the vaccine, including anyone aged 60 and over, doctors, nurses and health care workers, first responders, teachers, public transit workers, grocery store workers, public safety workers and New Yorkers with certain pre-existing health conditions.
The briefing was closed to the press at a time when Cuomo is facing mounting calls to resign after at least eight women have accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior and as he continues to come under fire over the nursing home COVID-19 deaths scandal.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that all New Yorkers aged over 50 will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine from tomorrow
Cuomo said he was optimistic that the state is coming out of the worst of the pandemic that has killed more than 48,000 New York residents and infected almost 1.8 million since it landed on US soil last year.
‘We are now in a new season. We are in the season of the spring, and the spring says it’s a time for renewal, rebirth and you can feel it in the air,’ he said.
‘We have to go out in the light of a new day, and we have to rebuild.
‘We have to repair the damage of the storm, and this COVID storm left much, much damage: Economic damage, personal damage, personal damage, psychological damage, mental health issues.
‘Children who spent a year out of school. Children in poor communities who didn’t have the same access to remote learning, who were left behind more than anyone else. We have to rebuild, and we’re going to rebuild.’
Cuomo announced the launch of the ‘Roll Up Your Sleeve’ campaign to encourage houses of worship to sign up to become vaccination sites in an effort to ramp up the rollout in underserved communities.
The initiative, which will start in April, calls on local health organizations and hospitals to volunteer to partner with houses of worship.
It is hoped that the campaign will help create more equal access to the vaccine in underserved communities and build more trust in it by partnering with key figures in communities.
The embattled governor was joined at the briefing by Grace Baptist Church Reverend Doctor Franklin Richardson who praised Cuomo’s ‘amazing leadership’ as they announced the church will serve as a COVID-19 vaccination center starting Tuesday.
Cuomo said at a press briefing at the Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon Monday that he is expanding the current eligibility to include anyone aged 50 and over, starting Tuesday at 8 am
Cuomo gives a thumbs up as he arrives at Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. The briefing was closed to the press at a time when Cuomo is facing mounting calls to resign
‘Governor you have shown us great honor and today we return that honor to you,’ said Richardson.
‘You are saving lives. Thank god for your amazing leadership and thank you.’
Rev. Al Sharpton also joined the announcement virtually and urged faith leaders to rise to the moment and ‘help save people’s lives that we are committed to serve.’
‘Houses of worship are also places of refuge and trust and there is no better place to have people confidently roll up their sleeves,’ he said.
‘We need Faith Leaders to rise up to the moment and help save people’s lives that we are committed to serve.’
Sharpton urged people to get the vaccine ‘for your loved one’ as he said he had just received his second dose earlier that morning.
The embattled governor was joined at the briefing by Grace Baptist Church Reverend Doctor Franklin Richardson (pictured) who praised Cuomo’s ‘amazing leadership’ as they announced the church will serve as a COVID-19 vaccination center starting Tuesday
Rev. Al Sharpton also joined the announcement virtually and urged faith leaders to get involved in the newly-announced ‘Roll Up Your Sleeve’ campaign where houses of worship can sign up to become vaccination sites
‘We’re not asking you, on this occasion to march, or go to jail for civil disobedience. All we’re asking you to do is come to a place of worship, roll up your sleeves, and save our communities,’ he said.
‘Let’s do it and let us become those that led us out of this pandemic.’
The move to set up vaccination sites in places of worship comes just one day after Cuomo’s office said pharmacies can also start to vaccinate New Yorkers with comorbidities or underlying health conditions.
Pharmacies were previously only allowed to vaccinate New Yorkers over the age of 60 and teachers, with people with underlying conditions required to travel to mass vaccination sites for appointments.
‘New Yorkers with comorbidities are among our state’s most at-risk residents, and access to the COVID-19 vaccine protects this vulnerable population as we work to defeat the virus and establish the new normal,’ Cuomo said in a statement Sunday.
‘As New York receives more doses and more people receive the vaccine, we’re able to expand the population pharmacies can serve, and this is a commonsense step forward that will help make it easier to protect New Yorkers.’
Expanding the rollout to places of worship and pharmacies will help scale up distribution at the same time that a growing proportion of the New York population can now get the shot.
A man gets the vaccine at a pop up site at Commonpoint Queens community center last week
To date, more than a quarter of all New Yorkers have received at least their first dose of the vaccine
To date, more than a quarter of all New Yorkers have received at least their first dose of the vaccine with 25.6 percent having had at least one shot and 12.4 percent of the population now fully vaccinated.
More than 7.3 million doses have been administered in the state since New York intensive care nurse Sandra Lindsay became the first person in the US to receive the vaccine back on December 14.
Nationwide, 24.5 percent have had at least one shot while 13.3 percent are fully vaccinated with an average of 2.5 million Americans vaccinated every day.
Three vaccines have so far been approved in the US – the Moderna and Pfizer which both involve two separate doses, and the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine.
Joe Biden has said that all adult Americans should be eligible to get the vaccine by May 1 based on the three approved vaccines while a fourth – AstraZeneca – would help scale up the rollout.
But the approval process is slowing things down with AstraZeneca saying Monday it will file for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization of its COVID-19 vaccine in the first half of April.
The Trump administration made a deal with AstraZeneca for 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine last year, and the federal government is currently sitting on nearly 30 million which can’t be used until the shot is authorized by the FDA.
Nearly four million of those doses were sent to Mexico and Canada which have both already authorized the shot, since they are useless to Americans for the time being.
US trials have found the vaccine is 100 percent effective at keeping people out of hospital and stopping them dying of the disease and 79 percent effective at stopping all symptomatic infections.