The age limit for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is being dropped in New York by five years, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, with all New Yorkers 60 and older able to get their shot beginning Wednesday, March 10.
With eligibility cutting off New Yorkers who are under the age of 65, the new limitations put the 63-year-old governor himself in the age range allowed by dropping the requirement to 60, Cuomo announced at yet another closed-to-the-press event as he staves off calls for his resignation in light of sexual harassment allegations.
According to the governor, it will be an “annoying few months” for New York and other states waiting for increased allocations from the federal government.
“We are now coming down to the end. Are we at the end? No. That’s why we have to stay smart, stay safe, masks, etc. But we’re at the beginning of the end, and the end is the vaccine,” Cuomo said. “Now, the supply of the vaccine is dependent on the federal government. And that ebbs and flows. Why? Because when the Biden administration came in, they didn’t have enough vaccines for the country. They just had not bought enough vaccines. President Biden comes in and opens the vaccine cupboard. The cupboard is bare.”
Biden has since pledged to purchase hundreds of millions of doses this year, and last week said the country is on track to have enough COVID-19 shots for every American available by the end of May.
Since the start of the vaccination effort in mid-December, Cuomo has pledged to take the vaccine himself publicly when his age group becomes available. That could likely take place Wednesday.
“Sixty-year-old plus are going to be available, they can start making appointments tomorrow, they can make them at the mass vaccination sites, they take them at pharmacies. But that will start at 8 a.m. tomorrow,” Cuomo said. “That means people as old as I am now will be eligible for the vaccine.”
All state vaccination sites, starting on March 17, will vaccinate anyone who is eligible to receive the shot, but pharmacies will only be administering the COVID-19 vaccine to people 60 plus and teachers in an effort to get students back in the classroom — as stressed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday when he announced in-person learning in high schools would begin again.
According to Cuomo, eligibility will also open up for public-facing public employees and those working with not-for-profit organizations managing the emergency as well as private employees who are providing services like the Young Women’s Christian Association.
The event on Tuesday, much like a similar event on Monday, was closed to the press “due to COVID-19 restrictions,” as the Governor’s office stated in an advisory. That had not always been the case throughout the pandemic, even when the state death toll was at its highest in May, when the governor held regular press conferences with reporters in attendance at his offices, and at public events.
Cuomo continues to grapple politically with rivals who continuously call for his resignation in light of the five women who have accused him of sexual harassment over the course of 20 years, with four of them being former aides.
Some, including Republican Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay, have led the charge for the impeachment of Governor Cuomo — something that has not happened in the state of New York since 1913, when William Sulzer was expelled from the executive chamber.