On February 5th Governor Cuomo announced a list of comorbidities and underlying conditions that New York State will use to determine eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine. New Yorkers who have one of these conditions will be eligible for the vaccine beginning February 15th. The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department and area providers are preparing for this expansion in vaccine distribution.
Dr. Andrew Williams, MD stated “the medical community is very excited that the eligibility criteria has now expanded to include individuals with relevant co-morbid conditions. These individuals are more likely to have serious complications, require hospitalization and even die when infected with the COVID-19 virus. Vaccination will help prevent this.”
Adults of any age with the following conditions due to increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death from the virus that causes COVID-19 are eligible for the vaccine:
- Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
- Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher) or Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
- Cerebrovascular disease (conditions affecting blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
- Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer's Disease or dementia
- Liver disease
Individuals who have one of these conditions will need to verify their eligibility by signing a personal attestation found here. Dana McGuire, St. Lawrence County Public Health Director stated that, “counties in the North Country Region collaborated with others in the Capital Region on the documentation required for this expanded eligibility group. We wanted to make the process as easy as possible without creating barriers to receiving the vaccine.” Completing the attestation form is sufficient documentation in confirming eligibility. A doctor’s letter is not necessary. However, if individuals have questions about whether their medical condition qualifies as a co-morbid condition, they should contact their primary care provider to discuss this.
Vaccine and registration information can be found on the St. Lawrence County Public Health Website at https://www.stlawco.org/Departments/PublicHealth/COVID-19. People can also call the state COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
Once an appointment is successfully scheduled, people will receive a confirmation email that contains a barcode. This is confirmation of your appointment. Once an appointment is confirmed, people must also complete the state COVID-19 Vaccine Form. This form should be filled out online and brought to the appointment.
Individuals must bring proof of eligibility to the appointment. Depending on the eligibility category, proof can include an attestation, employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, a pay stub, a driver’s license, passport, or any legal proof of your date of birth and residency. At the time of the appointment, people will be asked a series of clinical questions to ensure readiness for a vaccine.
Second dose appointments will be scheduled automatically when people receive their first vaccine dose. The second appointment will be scheduled for the same time and at the same location, four weeks following the first dose (Moderna vaccine). A vaccine record card will be provided onsite with the date and time indicated, and a confirmation email will follow a few days later. When scheduling the first appointment, people should keep in mind that their second appointment will occur at the same time of day.
For additional information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department (315) 386-2325 or visit the St. Lawrence County website at https://www.stlawco.org/.