NY opens ways for elderly and more to get vaccines

Jennifer A. Pelton, director of Adult Services at Transitional Living Services in Watertown, is vaccinated Dec. 30 for COVID-19. (Provided photo — Sydney Schaefer, Watertown Daily Times)

WATERTOWN — New York state opened up its Phase 1B rollout of COVID-19 vaccines Monday, giving a larger number of people a chance to schedule appointments to receive their first dose.

At about 8 a.m., the state opened up a portal for any individual to complete a form to determine whether they are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Under the state’s 1B criteria, this includes individuals who are 75 years of age or older, some essential workers such as teachers, emergency services workers and any medical professional or long-term care facility staff who were previously included in the state’s 1A rollout.

That portal can be found at https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov.

Beginning at 4 p.m. Monday, the state will also open up a hotline at 833-697-4829 for eligible populations to sign up for vaccine appointments.

Following a week of pressing hospitals to ramp up vaccinations of eligible groups in the 1A category — which largely included populations of front-line health care workers, as well as staff and residents in long-term care facilities — the governor finally announced Friday that sign-ups would be open Monday for the 1B category. At the same time, he cautioned that it may take up to 14 weeks to actually administer the doses for populations in the 1B category.

While the expansion into 1B represents a much larger group of eligible people than has been previously open in the last few weeks, many people still do not qualify. Those who don’t can still complete the form but are kept from making an appointment through the state portal.

Other providers are also rolling out their own individual sign-ups for eligible people Monday.

Kinney Drugs, a regional pharmacy, has a form available for eligible 1B populations to sign up for appointments at their pharmacies. The link to that form can be found at https://www.kinneydrugs.com/locations/appointments/NY.


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