Larry Schwartz, senior advisor to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, e-mailed hospital leadership last night to announce that next week, Week 9 of the COVID-19 vaccine program, will be the final week hospitals receive regular allocations to vaccinate their hospital health care workers. The e-mail announced that:

  • Each hospital will receive enough vaccine in Week 9 to cover all 1a eligible unscheduled employees, as of hospital-reported data on February 3. Hospitals must schedule vaccination for these staff before moving on to any other eligible priority group.
  • Only upon completion of vaccinating eligible hospital employees may hospitals move on to vaccinate other health care workers eligible in phase 1a such as home care workers and health care workers not affiliated with the hospital.
  • If, and only if, all phase 1a eligibility groups have been exhausted may hospitals vaccinate individuals in the 65 and older category.

Governor Cuomo reinforced this message during his public briefing this afternoon and added that hospitals could use the excess doses to vaccinate other eligible groups. Beginning February 15, the New York State Department of Health will reallocate doses that were being given to hospital workers to local health departments to prioritize individuals with comorbidities. GNYHA is seeking clarification on whether hospitals will continue to receive an allocation for patients 65 years or older and those with comorbidities.

The list of eligible comorbidities was released this afternoon. The list includes:

  • 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
  • Severe obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions, including but not limited to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

The list is subject to change as additional scientific evidence is published and as New York State obtains and analyzes additional state-specific data.

For a compilation of recent COVID-19 vaccine distribution program updates and guidance, please see GNYHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination page.