Gov. Cuomo: Vaccine eligibility expands to 50-plus age group Tuesday

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MANHASSET, NEW YORK – MAY 06: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a Coronavirus Briefing At Northwell Feinstein Institute For Medical Research on May 06, 2020 in Manhasset, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Editor’s note: Audio from the 2:30 p.m. conference call is rendering now and will be attached shortly.

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to host a conference call with media at 2:30 p.m. Monday. The audio of that call will be streamed in the video player above.

The governor announced the following data:

  • 152,328 COVID-19 tests reported statewide Sunday
  • 6,361 confirmed new cases
  • 4.1% overall positivity rate statewide Sunday
  • 46 new deaths (fewest single-day increase since November 27)
  • 4,470 hospitalized
  • 885 in ICU
  • 576 intubated

The statewide vaccination rates, as of Monday afternoon, are as follows:

  • 7,737,230 total doses administered
  • 103,425 total doses administered in prior 24 hours
  • 26.1% of New Yorkers with at least one dose
  • 13.4% of New Yorkers fully vaccinated

“What you’re going to see is a dramatic shift in the dynamics,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So far we have been limited by vaccine supply and the message has been ‘we need more.’ Now we are in a flat period in terms of supply. The past number of weeks, the number in allocation from the federal government has been flat. What you will see in the coming weeks is a dramatic increase in supply. That spike in allocation will then flip the challenge to the distribution side. We’ve gone from a place of needing more vaccine, and the allocation could double, so you want to make sure you have the distribution resources.”

The governor said the AstraZeneca vaccine approaching FDA approval could soon further increase the amount of COVID-19 vaccines available for New Yorkers.

Earlier Monday, the governor toured Grace Baptist Church in Westchester County where he announced the age requirement for COVID-19 vaccines was dropping from 60-plus to 50-plus, beginning Tuesday.

“Tomorrow morning, 50 and above, make your appointment and get your vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Officials from the governor’s office say New York’s distribution network and large population of eligible individuals still exceed the supply coming from the federal government. Due to limited supply, New Yorkers are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.                      

“We don’t yet have that allocation, so the expanded eligibility is for future appointments where we expect to have more vaccine doses in the coming weeks,” Gov. Cuomo said.

The governor expressed optimism with the declining COVID-19 rates in the state, saying it’s a new season and a reason for hope.

“We are now in a new season,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We are in the season of the spring, and the spring says it’s a time for renewal, rebirth and you can feel it in the air.”

The governor said vaccine production is ramping up, and now it’s time for New York’s faith-based facilities to partner with local health organizations and local hospitals to get more people vaccinated. The governor said the Grace Baptist Church he was speaking from would serve as a COVID-19 vaccine center beginning Tuesday.

“We will have enough vaccine to vaccinate people,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We have to make sure we have the capacity and the willingness to take the vaccine, and we’re announcing a vaccinate New York campaign, and we’re deploying a foundation of our society, which is our faith-based community. We have religious leaders from all across the spectrum.”

The governor’s office announce the “Roll Up Your Sleeve” campaign officially Monday, which encourages houses of worship of all faiths to sign up as vaccination sites. Part of this campaign allows all houses of worship to serve as points of distribution for the vaccine, beginning in April. Officials say this action will “significantly” increase the number of doses being administered each day.

“Houses of worship are also places of refuge and trust and there is no better place to have people confidently roll up their sleeves,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, who joined the governor’s briefing virtually Monday. “We need Faith Leaders to rise up to the moment and help save people’s lives that we are committed to serve.”

The reverend said he too was hesitant about taking the vaccine at first, but he said he eventually came to the conclusion that it was safe. He said he received his second dose of the vaccine about an hour before his appearance at Monday’s briefing — and encouraged all who were eligible to get their shot too.

“Roll up your sleeve, and do it for your loved one,” Rev. Sharpton said. “We’re not asking you, on this occasion to march, or go to jail for civil disobedience. All we’re asking you to do is come to a place of worship, roll up your sleeves, and save our communities. Let’s do it and let us become those that led us out of this pandemic.”

Gov. Cuomo makes announcement at Grace Baptist Church

The governor says as vaccination ramps up, equity needs to be a focus.

“Here in the Hudson Valley, 79% of the population is white,” Gov. Cuomo said. “86% of those who are vaccinated here are white. 14% of the population is Black, but only 8% of those vaccinated here are Black. 19% of the population is Hispanic, and only 13% of those vaccinated. That discrepancy has to be remedied — COVID discriminates.”

The governor said with increased vaccinations, and decreasing positivity rates, the focus turns to reopening society and reopening society with fairness in the forefront.

“We have to go out in the light of a new day, and we have to rebuild,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We have to repair the damage of the storm, and this COVID storm left much, much damage: Economic damage, personal damage, personal damage, psychological damage, mental health issues. Children who spent a year out of school. Children in poor communities who didn’t have the same access to remote learning, who were left behind more than anyone else. We have to rebuild, and we’re going to rebuild.”

Over the weekend, the governor announced the first New Yorker was diagnosed with the Brazilian variant of COVID-19. The patient is from Brooklyn and has no travel history.

The governor also announced on Sunday that people in New York State with qualifying comorbidities or underlying conditions can now get vaccinated at pharmacies.

Previously, only those in the 60-plus age group, and teachers could get vaccinated at pharmacies.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we update this developing story.

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