BUFFALO, N.Y. — As more and more people are becoming eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the challenge now is where to find one.
Approximately 7.1 million New York State residents are currently eligible to receive the vaccine in phases 1a and 1b.
How do I know if I'm eligible?
To register for an appointment in New York, you need to check if your eligible. You can do that on the NYS Vaccine site: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
If you are eligible, you can make an appointment to get a vaccine. However, keep in mind, there are more people than there are vaccines right now, and it may take weeks before you can get an appointment.
Beginning February 15, those with comorbidities will also be allowed to register to receive a vaccine. That will bring the total number of New York residents eligible to get the vaccine to over 10 million.
Here's the full list of comorbidities and underlying conditions released by the state.
- 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 [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- 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 state gets approximately 300,000 vaccines per week, although the federal government is slowly increasing the amount.
65 years and older?
If you are aged 65 and over, you can receive your vaccine at a state-run vaccine center or your local pharmacy. You can contact the NYS Vaccine Hotline at: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX or 1-833-697-4829, or check the state's vaccine site at: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
You can also call your local pharmacy, or check out their websites. The three major drug stores are also giving vaccines. You still need to make an appointment.
Don't have a computer, or having trouble navigating the process online?
Those who do not have access to a computer, or who need assistance, can contact the NYS Vaccine Hotline at: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX or 1-833-697-4829.
For those seniors living in Genesee and Orleans county, they contact the local Office for the Aging for assistance, and they will assist you as best they can.
Genesee County call 585-813-2457 between 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and
For Orleans County call 585-589-3191 between 9:30-4:30 Monday through Friday.
All WNY county health departments have more information on their websites to help walk you through the process as well and information about county-run vaccine clinics.
Erie County Department of Health
Niagara County Department of Health
Genesee/Orleans County Deptartments of Health
Chautauqua County Public Health Dept.
Cattaraugus County Department of Health
Allegany County Department of Health
Wyoming County Department of Health
Remember, in order to get a vaccine, you must first check your eligibility and then schedule an appointment.