New Yorkers are now receiving vaccines against COVID-19, and the state recently expanded eligibility rules for who can receive them. Already, health care workers and residents and staff of certain long-term care facilities are eligible to receive the vaccine. As of Wednesday, Jan. 13, 7 million people in the state were eligible to receive the vaccine.
Here are answers to some of the common questions:
Who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine, as of January 12?
Under the latest phase of the vaccine rollout, 1B, the largest group that is now eligible is state residents 65 years old and older, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded the eligibility on Tuesday.
Also eligible are public safety workers — police officers and firefighters — as well as teachers, correction department staffers, public transportation workers, public-facing grocery workers, in-person college instructors and people who live or work in certain homeless shelters.
Here is a detailed list of who is currently eligible.
How do I make an appointment?
The state has also opened a hotline for scheduling appointments over the phone: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). The city has opened its own hotline as well, which will have a 24-hour reservation system by Friday, Jan. 15: 1-877-VAX-4NYC (1-877-829-4692).
Where are the vaccination sites?
Medical workers and city health workers are administering the vaccine at sites in all five boroughs. You can view the locations on the map here.
However, people attempting to schedule vaccinations have found that they are not always able to schedule appointments close to where they live or even in their own borough. One woman who spoke to NY1 said that her options included sites in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, even though she lives in Brooklyn.
The city has also opened four mass vaccination sites, which are set to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
- Brooklyn: Brooklyn Army Terminal, in Sunset Park
- Bronx: Bathgate Contract Postal Station, next to Crotona Park
- Manhattan: 125 Worth Street, in Lower Manhattan
- Staten Island: Gotham Health at 165 Vanderbilt Avenue
On Wednesday, Jan. 13, the state opened a mass vaccination site at the Javits Center, in Manhattan, which is open to all eligible New Yorkers who make appointments through the state, 8 a.m. through 6 p.m.
The city is also planning to open at least three more 24/7 sites:
- Queens: in Corona, opening Saturday, Jan. 16
- Queens: Citi Field, opening Jan. 25
- Staten Island: at Empire Outlets, opening the week of Jan. 17
On Jan. 14, de Blasio announced that the city would open three vaccination sites over the weekend for people aged 65 and older to NYCHA developments: at the Van Dyke I and II Houses in Brooklyn; Polo Grounds Towers in Manhattan; and the Cassidy Lafayette Houses in Staten Island.
The city's Health + Hospitals says that all 24/7 sites are ADA compliant.
How much does it cost?
The vaccine is free to all New Yorkers, the city says. At the same time, insurance experts and consumer advocates have warned that the complexity of the American health care system may lead some people to receive bills for care related to receiving the vaccine.
I am not a U.S. citizen. Can I still receive the vaccine?
The city has said that you do not need to share your immigrant status to receive the vaccine. Both city and state health departments have said they will not share patient information with federal immigration authorities. In December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed back against a requirement that states share vaccine recipient data with the federal government, saying it could dissuade undocumented immigrants from receiving the vaccine.
I’m eligible for a vaccine. How long is the wait?
Cuomo has said that the wait in the city may be as long as two weeks, but de Blasio has framed the opening of the 24-hour vaccination sites as an effort to cut down on wait times. However, de Blasio has repeatedly warned that the city could run out of vaccines as early as next week, which may push scheduled vaccinations back further.
Is the vaccine mandatory?
No, it is voluntary. De Blasio told NY1 on Jan. 11 that making the vaccines voluntary for city workers is the “right approach,” since some people are wary of potential side effects. Some vaccine recipients have reported flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine, and there have been a very small number of anaphylactic allergic reactions, though none of the vaccines have led to serious safety concerns, health experts have repeatedly said. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
Who is next in line to receive the vaccine?
On the city’s website detailing the vaccine rollout, the next phase, 1C, is set to begin in March or April, and likely includes people with certain underlying health conditions; and other essential workers.
The state has yet to say which specific health conditions and classes of essential workers will be included in this phase. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that states give vaccines to food delivery workers, construction workers and other public infrastructure workers after the elderly, public safety workers and teachers.
Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout, which the city’s website lists as including “all other people,” is scheduled to begin in “Summer 2021.”
This is an ongoing story. Check back for more developments.