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New York expands vaccine eligibility to anyone over 65

Renee Dunn, 84, gets the coronavirus vaccine at a clinic organized by New York City's Department of Health, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. "I worked in healthcare for many years," she said. It is so lucky we have this vaccine." Monday is the first day in New York that those 75 years of age and older can get the vaccine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine again to allow anyone over age 65 to get it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

Cuomo said the state’s following new federal guidance, which now means more than one out of three New Yorkers are eligible to get vaccinated.

The federal government will also no longer hold back required second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, a move expected to practically double supply.

People who are age 75 and up and a much longer list of workers, including transit employees, grocery clerks, teachers, police officers, firefighters and others became eligible to get the vaccine Monday.

Cuomo has warned that it will take six months to vaccinate 7 million New Yorkers, less than half of the state’s 19 million residents, if the state keeps only receiving 300,000 vaccine doses a week. He said it was unclear as of Tuesday morning how the federal government’s new move would impact New York’s weekly allocations.

The original U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines called on states to prioritize people aged 75 and older, and frontline essential workers in the second phase of the vaccine rollout.

Some states including Oklahoma decided to go further than federal guidelines and prioritize people over 65 years of age.

Cuomo for weeks said the state had to first vaccinate all willing frontline healthcare workers before moving onto essential workers. But he reversed course on Friday and allowed New Yorkers who are eligible under the second phase to sign up for vaccines.

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