New Yorkers with chronic illnesses they re-questioned for the Covid-19 vaccine flooded a state website and call center Sunday morning, leaving many unable to make appointments at mass vaccination centers right away.
State officials said Sunday that 73,000 appointments were scheduled by 11:30 a.m. while 500,000 people went through an online eligibility check tool that was needed to make appointments. Thousands were in virtual waiting rooms that can accommodate up to 8,000 people per vaccination station. Once these waiting rooms are full, people trying to make appointments will be encouraged to try again later.
Richard Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, said demand is high, but “our infrastructure is up and running and intact.” He said the state’s ability to schedule appointments depends on vaccine supplies, which are growing steadily.
Officials said the new criteria, which include chronic conditions like obesity and high blood pressure, made four million more New Yorkers eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. They are joining a growing number of people in the state who are eligible for the vaccine despite a lack of supplies.
Eligible people now include adults with certain health issues that can increase their risk of serious illness or death from the coronavirus. Aside from obesity and high blood pressure, other conditions New Yorkers would qualify for the vaccine include lung disease and cancer, Mr. Cuomo announced this month. He also made pregnancy a qualifying condition.
Appointments for people in this group can be scheduled as early as Monday, although most people will likely have to wait a long time as vaccine doses are currently tight. New Yorkers must provide evidence of their condition with a doctor’s letter, signed certificate, or medical documentation, Cuomo said.
“While this is a big step forward in ensuring that the most vulnerable among us have access to this life-saving vaccine, it’s no secret that every time you deal with such a scarce resource there will be attempts to Committing fraud and gambling systems, ”said Mr Cuomo in a statement.
In New York state, about 10 percent of the population received the first dose, according to the New York Times. With the new criteria, around 11 million people in the state are now eligible, including people 65 and over, healthcare workers and teachers – more than half of the state’s population.
New York City recently opened mass vaccination sites at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and Citi Field in Queens to better reach the communities affected by the virus. The state and federal government also announced last week that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would be opening vaccination centers at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and York College in Queens.
To verify eligibility and make an appointment, New Yorkers can do a pre-screening on the state website. You can also call the state vaccination hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) for more information about vaccination appointments.