ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday moved to temper the expectations of the next big group of New Yorkers who’ll gain access to the COVID vaccine on Feb. 15.
There isn’t enough vaccine and the state’s computer system, though it has been fortified, may start crashing again as hundreds of thousands of people sit at home clicking “refresh” in their hunt for the potentially life-saving shots.
People with a wide range of comorbidities — pre-existing medical conditions that put them at greater risk of severe or deadly consequences from the COVID virus — are the next cohort of New Yorkers who’ll become eligible for the vaccine.
The state hasn’t estimated how many this includes, but the conditions range from pregnancy to morbid obesity to diabetes to cancer (active or in remission) to non-morbid obesity in combination with something else, plus numerous heart, lung, kidney, liver disorders, plus developmental disabilities.
At risk of oversimplification, it’s easier to state who won’t be eligible for the vaccine after this coming weekend: Those under age 65 who are healthy and don’t work in jobs deemed essential.
At a news conference Monday, Cuomo estimated that the corps of eligible New Yorkers already numbers 10 million.
A reporter asked Cuomo whether the online portal for making appointments would have problems when those with comorbidities are eligible to start seeking the vaccine.
“You are right, and let’s state it even more bluntly: 10 million New Yorkers are chasing 300,000 vaccines every week. That’s what’s happening. This will be an ongoing tension until the supply is greatly increased and dramatically increased.
“So yes, this is going to be a long, anxiety-producing time.”
Secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa said the state will start taking online appointments shortly after midnight the morning of Feb. 14.
“There will be a crush. this will not be perfect,” she cautioned. “Everybody should go into this with their eyes open.”
The federal government sends vaccine to states based on population. New York, fourth-most populous among the 50 states, has received the fourth-highest number of doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
On a per-capita basis, the CDC said, Alaska leads with 20.63 total doses administered per 100 people. Alabama is last with 9.54 doses per 100. New York is 24th with 12.43 doses per 100 presidents.
- On a seven-day rolling average, the positive test rate for COVID stood at 4.4% statewide, 3.4% in the Capital Region and 3.0% in the Mohawk Valley. At the county level, the rate was Albany 3.9%, Fulton 7.0%, Montgomery 6.1%, Rensselaer 2.4%, Saratoga 3.0%, Schenectady 3.3% and Schoharie 2.6%.
- Statewide, 7,716 COVID-positive patients were hospitalized Sunday, including 326 in the Capital Region and 184 in the Mohawk Valley.
- On Monday, 114 COVID-related deaths were added to the state’s official death toll, bringing it to 36,339. These included three in Albany County, two in Warren County and one each in Fulton, Montgomery and Schenectady counties.