We know there are many individuals in our communities interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly since New York State announced it is expanding eligibility to the Phase 1b population. This message is intended to provide an update and resources for learning more about the state’s recent expansion of vaccine eligibility.

Federal and state criteria determine who gets the COVID-19 vaccine and when it will become available. That guidance prioritizes individuals based on certain risk factors. Due to a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, health care workers were prioritized to receive the vaccine first. Bassett Healthcare Network is currently completing vaccination of prioritized health workers (Phase 1a) and planning for Phase 1b according to guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

Phase 1b eligibility and limited vaccine supply

The NYSDOH has defined the initial groups of Phase 1b currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccine; those eligible include individuals 65 and older, first responders, corrections officers, teachers, and other school staff, in-person college instructors, childcare workers, public-facing grocery store workers, transit workers, and individuals living and working in homeless shelters.

While the federal distribution of COVID-19 vaccine supply remains limited, the NYSDOH has advised New Yorkers that appointments could take several weeks or longer for individuals who qualify under the state’s criteria. We ask for your continued patience. When vaccine does become available to the Bassett network, we will notify our patients of the next steps using a variety of methods, including our website bassett.org/covid-19, please also check your local county health department’s website. Vaccination of those eligible in Phase 1b will follow the state’s guidance. Click here to learn more about eligibility and the state’s plans for administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Again, visit bassett.org/COVID-19 for updates on the vaccination process. We encourage you to receive the vaccine when it becomes available to you; thousands of Bassett network caregivers have been safely vaccinated, and across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says approximately 9 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.