Sixty two year old Cory Todd recalls the time he spent down at the site of World Trade Center in the weeks after the September 11th attacks. At the time he was a chief construction inspector with Con Edison and assisted with the search and recovery efforts. 

Since then he’s developed several respiratory related illnesses.

What You Need To Know

  • New Yorkers under 65 with 9/11 related illnesses who do not fall under other categories are not eligible for the vaccine

  • Most 9/11 related illnesses caused New Yorkers to become immunocompromised, specifically to the respiratory system

  • Earlier in January, Governor Cuomo announced immunocompromised New Yorkers would be eligible for the vaccine but has not released guidance as to who qualifies

“It has progressively gotten worse over the last 19 some odd years, you know I am getting sicker and sicker and sicker," he said.

Todd says while most people get sick once or twice a year, he gets severe cases of bronchitis seven to eight times a year.

A slight cold for him, turns into something serious. So when the pandemic hit, he was worried. 

“When you are compromised with all this 9/11 stuff that you live with and I take a lot of medicine and stuff it makes it that much worse thinking about if I get it, it's gonna be bad, it's gonna be real bad," said Todd.

Earlier this month, Governor Cuomo announced New Yorkers 65 and older, and those who are immunocompromised would be eligible for the vaccine. But the state has failed to issue specifics as to what conditions or diseases that will include. 

So first responders with 9/11 related illnesses are being turned away at vaccine sites.

“That is what we we have been fighting for for years, time, time to be with our families. We’re sick and we are getting sicker and to buy time, we need a place in that line to get that vaccine," said Todd.

Michael Barasch is a legal advocate for the 9/11 community. He says his firm has lost over a 100 clients with 9/11 related illnesses to COVID-19.

“These people are particularly at risk right now, they are literally scared to death," said Barasch.

Todd now works for the MTA and is considered an essential worker, but he says because of supply issues he has to wait to get the vaccine through work. 

He’s tried to get an appointment through the city and state, but no luck.

“That vaccine will save people’s lives that are compromised, that are under 65 that don’t have a place to go. We can't be at the end of the line, we’ve earned a place in that line.”

Todd wants governor Cuomo to consider 9/11 first responders and grant them eligibility. 

“He said you know we did so much for them, New York, he needs to do for us, here it is, do for us," said Todd.

The state says their goal is to get as many New Yorkers vaccinated as quickly as possible. But blamed a lack of supply from the federal government for not being able to expanding eligibility.