New York state expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all residents 30 and older Tuesday, and those 16 and up can start receiving shots April 6th. Pharmacists are ready.
As more allocations of vaccine from the federal government are delivered to providers, New York State Democratic State Assemblyman John McDonald, who runs Marra's pharmacy in Cohoes, says now is the time to get your shots.
"I think it's a great opportunity for everybody to have access to the vaccine," McDonald said. "This is something I've been pushing for, for three to four weeks now saying April 1st, we should open it up to everybody. Because we are now getting to the part where we want to start having a positive impact on those individuals who are questioning or doubtful about the vaccine. And no better testimony is when trusted messengers, trusted agents and friends, are able to share their positive experience."
Pharmacist Neal Smoller of Village Apothecary in Woodstock has already vaccinated a steady stream of eager customers, and now he's expects many more.
"We've had a number of pharmacists in our coalition state how they couldn't even get people to come get 100 doses, you know, because of the restrictions on the age," Smoller said. "And now that this opened up, we'll have more people, more arms to be able to move these doses that we're receiving now on a more regular basis."
Smoller says he'll distribute any of the three approved vaccines that are sent to him. He thinks in time corona shots will likely be given yearly, like the flu shot.
"Coronavirus protection is typically two to three years, right, after normal coronavirus vaccination, because of the variants and because of the, I guess global inequities of vaccine distribution," Smoller said. "We more than likely will be seeing annual updates, software upgrades, right? Every single year we'll be getting a coronavirus vaccine. And I don't think that's a bad thing.
McDonald has some tips for those looking to book a vaccine appointment.
"Beginning of the week is when pharmacies are going to know and doctor’s offices are going to know what they're receiving," McDonald said. "Beginning of the week on a Monday is usually the day to check and see what's going to be available this week. Supply is doubling now, in regards to what's coming to the region, I think you'll see a significant increase. And I don't think that what I called a CVA, which is COVID vaccine anxiety, I think is gonna start to diminish a little bit more, because the product is becoming more readily available."
According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, 30 percent of New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose, while 18 percent have completed the vaccine series.