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New York to allow universal access to COVID-19 vaccine starting April 6

Jason Smith
WRVO News (file photo)

New York will allow universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone above the age of 15 starting next Tuesday, April 6, while those ages 30 will become immediately eligible starting tomorrow, March 30, the state said Monday.

The change is a huge opening in eligibility for the vaccine, which is currently only available to those ages 50 and above, and others in targeted industries or living with certain conditions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that, with the new eligibility guidelines, the state will renew its efforts to make the vaccine accessible to traditionally underserved communities. More than three-quarters of the state’s vaccine recipients have been white, per state data.

"As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind,” Cuomo said.

Those ages 30 and above won’t be able to make appointments for the vaccine until Tuesday at 8 a.m. All others above the age of 15 will be able to begin making appointments on the morning of April 6. There is no statewide pre-registration system.

President Joe Biden had set a goal of May 1 for states to offer universal access to the vaccine. That has largely depended on supply, which was short at the beginning of the rollout.

But New York is now receiving more than one million doses of the vaccine from the federal government per week, allowing the state to administer more than 100,000 doses of the injection per day. More than 1.3 million doses were administered over the past week.

As of Monday, more than 9 million doses of one of the three federally-approved COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in New York, and 16.8% of the state’s population had been fully vaccinated.

Dan Clark is the host and producer of New York NOW, a weekly television show focusing on state government produced by WMHT in Albany. Clark has been reporting on New York state government and politics for the last six years, during which time he's worked out of the state Capitol in Albany. Clark reported for the national political fact-checking publication PolitiFact, the Buffalo News, the statewide political television show Capital Tonight, and most recently the New York Law Journal. At the New York Law Journal, Clark has focused on state legal challenges to President Donald Trump, as well as litigation concerning laws enacted by the New York State Legislature. Clark covered the Legislature in each role he's held and is a familiar face to state lawmakers and staff. Clark is a native of Afton, NY in Chenango County. He's lived in Albany with his husband since 2011.