Cuomo Allows Earlier Vaccines for N.Y. Cabdrivers, Waiters

Restaurant workers, taxi drivers and workers at developmentally-disabled facilities could become eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccines if local governments choose to include them, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Cuomo said he is directing local governments to make decisions about whether to add groups, and which ones, to the so-called 1B eligible tier, he said in a briefing Tuesday.

New York expanded vaccine eligibility beyond health-care workers last month to include public workers, teachers, and people 65 and older. Last week, he announced a plan to reopen New York City’s indoor dining on Feb. 14 to 25% capacity, raising questions about whether restaurant workers should then be included in eligibility lists. He has also been asked to make those with health conditions eligible to receive the vaccine.

Facing supply shortages in New York, Cuomo has pushed back against requests to open up vaccines to even more groups of people. “Without a significant increase in the supply, it’s all just posturing,” Cuomo said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier Tuesday that he supported including restaurant workers in the category of people who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“The restaurant workers now are going to be in enclosed places with people eating and drinking. And every doctor on this line or any place else will say, that’s an area of concern,” de Blasio said in a Tuesday briefing. “ Now that the state has made this decision, it follows that we have to protect those workers and they should be added to the 1b category.”

Cuomo said the state has administered about 2 million vaccine doses for about 7 million eligible residents. Expanding eligibility to the immuno-compromised would add another 4 million in a state that’s getting about 300,000 doses a week from the federal government, Cuomo said.

Cuomo said the Biden administration told governors on Tuesday that the state’s vaccine allocation will rise by another 5% over the next three weeks, on top of a previous boost of about 16%. The federal government also told governors during a call earlier Tuesday that they would give an additional 10% of the states’ allocation to pharmacies, which will result in another 30,000 doses for those in New York, Cuomo said.

New York’s Covid numbers continue to improve, the governor said. The state’s seven-day average rate of positive tests is below 5% for the first time since early December, Cuomo said.

The state plans to test targeting vaccine supply in areas with high positivity, Cuomo said. The Yankee Stadium will be open only for for residents in the Bronx, which has the highest positive rate among New York City’s boroughs.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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