Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press release today that as of Thursday, April 29, all New York state-run mass vaccination sites will administer COVID-19 vaccines to all eligible individuals on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis. According to the release, the elimination of the appointment requirement will improve vaccine access and allow New York to reach herd immunity faster by reducing barriers for eligible New Yorkers. All those aged 16 and older who live, work, or study in New York are eligible for the no-cost vaccines. Proof of identity and insurance are required (if insured), as well as written or verbal parental consent for 16- and 17-year-olds. No citizenship documentation is needed, and vaccines are free to all New Yorkers regardless of insurance coverage.
Cuomo urged all immunization providers to allow walk-ins for COVID-19 vaccines, but appointments may still be required in non-state and non-NYC sites such as clinics and pharmacies. These sites may not have the physical space to allow for social distancing as people wait their turn to be vaccinated and stay for post-vaccine observation. Check with your provider of choice for protocols and vaccine availability
Governor Cuomo also announced today that New York will adopt the new recommendations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding mask use by fully vaccinated individuals. “Fully Vaccinated” is defined as two weeks following the single dose J&J vaccine or two weeks following the second dose of a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna series).
Per the CDC, fully vaccinated people may now enjoy outdoor gatherings without a mask regardless of the vaccination status of others around them, except in certain crowded settings and venues. Mask protection is still required for most indoor gatherings. Mask requirements and recommendations remain unchanged for unvaccinated individuals.
Cuomo used the CDC news as an opportunity to remind New Yorkers that COVID-19 vaccinations are providing relief from pandemic restrictions, and listed the following freedoms that fully vaccinated individuals may enjoy:
• Fully vaccinated workers no longer need to be restricted from work following an exposure as long as they are asymptomatic
• Fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings no longer need to quarantine following a known exposure
• Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
• Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
• Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
• Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
• Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
• Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
• Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
• Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible (in nonhealthcare settings)
Direct questions or comments about vaccine availability and state and federal guidelines to HCP’s Public Policy team: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Watch the weekly HCP Insider for more COVID-19 news and updates regarding New York’s reopening progress.