As of Tuesday, all New Yorkers aged 16 and up can now make vaccine appointments and receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This comes just a week after the March 30 eligibility shift to 30 and up. New York State is currently trying to immunize as many people as possible, as evidenced by SUNY’s plan to vaccinate tens of thousands of college students before the summer with the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. On Tuesday, 18,600 vaccines were being distributed to 34 campuses, and SUNY is working with the state to secure more vaccine doses. Some private colleges around the country are making vaccination mandatory, but SUNY has not yet commented on this.
16 and 17-year-olds will be limited to the Pfizer vaccine for now, as it is currently the only vaccine approved for this age group. Parental consent is required for these individuals to get COVID vaccines. In nine states, kids can get certain vaccines without parental consent, but no states have implemented this for the COVID vaccines.
As of Monday, one in five New Yorkers were fully vaccinated (two weeks since the second dose) against COVID-19, according to the CDC, while just over one third of the state’s residents have received at least one dose. New York State Health Department officials say that the new rules add 1.7 million people to the eligibility list, for a total of 15.9 million eligible New Yorkers (out of a population of about 19.45 million). New York State health officials hope the expanded eligibility will help lower the number of hospitalizations among millennials and Generation Xers.
In Onondaga County, residents can book vaccine appointments through the state’s vaccine eligibility portal, or through the county’s vaccine clinic through its portal. The county also has an extra dose waiting list. Residents can be notified if and when the county has extra doses they need to use up. Second dose appointments are automatically booked along with the first dose appointment.
The county and state currently have appointments in Syracuse available for the Pfizer and J&J vaccines. The state’s local vaccination site is at the Fairgrounds Expo Center, and the county’s site is the OnCenter. Syracuse University is currently awaiting approval to become a state vaccination site. SU is prepared to administer all three FDA-approved vaccines. They have not yet announced the exact site they would use to administer vaccines, although Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie, who leads SU’s COVID response, said they are considering “multiple locations.”
After you schedule your vaccination appointment, you will receive a confirmation email that will contain links to a screening and consent form and a form proving your eligibility status. The second form will provide a “Submission ID” that you can show on your phone at the vaccine clinic.
When you arrive at the vaccine clinic, you need to show a form of ID such as a passport or driver’s license. You will also need to show evidence of your current address, such as a letter, school record, or rent receipt or lease. You will also be asked for insurance information. This information is for administrative use only, as the vaccine is free even if you don’t have insurance.
As we get closer to herd immunity, it’s important to remember to remain vigilant even after vaccination. While the CDC has stated that the data they have on transmitting the virus to others post-vaccination is promising, this transmission could still be possible. The CDC recommends continuing to wear masks in public and social distance for now. It does seem, however, that the increasing number of vaccinated persons will soon return New York State to pre-pandemic normalcy, or at least some semblance of it.