New York can begin vaccinating people 30 and older on Tuesday and will make all residents 16 and over eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine on April 6, beating President Biden’s goal of making every adult eligible for a vaccine by May 1, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Monday.
New York was one of only a few states that had not yet set a timeline for universal adult eligibility since Mr. Biden’s entreaty to do so.
Though Mr. Cuomo has gradually loosened vaccine eligibility criteria over the last month, he expressed reluctance last week to set a specific target date for doing away with the state’s requirements. The governor said he did not want to outline a timeline for more widespread vaccination until he was more confident that New York would have adequate vaccine supply on hand for its population.
“I just want to make sure that the allocation projections that we’re getting from the feds are right, frankly,” Mr. Cuomo said at a news conference last week. “I don’t want to say ‘We’re going to open up to 30-year-olds in three weeks,’ and then something happens with the allocation.”
Mr. Cuomo’s announcement comes as New York has been adding new virus cases at one of the highest rates among U.S. states. As of Monday, the state was a seven-day average of 49 new virus cases a day for every 100,000 residents, according to a New York Times database, second only to New Jersey. (The nation as a whole was averaging 19 new cases per 100,000 people.)
Even as the number of new cases continues to mount, the state has not faced anywhere near the level of devastation that it experienced a year ago, when hospitals were overwhelmed with patients and morgues were overflowing.
Buoyed by its vaccination progress, the state has also been gradually reopening businesses in the last several weeks. Mr. Cuomo allowed sporting events and concerts to resume at large venues last month and movie theaters to bring back audiences this month. Restaurants in New York City are now allowed to serve diners indoors at 50 percent capacity, their highest level of indoor dining since Mr. Cuomo shuttered them last year at the onset of the pandemic.
As of Monday morning, 29.6 percent of people in New York State had received at least one shot of a vaccine, while 16.8 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the state’s data.
Currently, all people 50 and over are eligible to receive the vaccine in New York, in addition to teachers, some essential workers and people with certain medical conditions that make them more susceptible to serious illness from the virus.