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New York residents who commute to essential jobs out of state now qualify for COVID-19 vaccines closer to home under the second phase of the Empire State’s inoculation program.
The Friday-night announcement came after a Rockland County husband and wife who work for a school district in New Jersey were turned away from a Westchester County vaccination site, according to The Journal News.
“Our singular goal is vaccinating New Yorkers as quickly and efficiently as possible,” New York State Department of Health spokesperson Gary Holmes said.
“The Governor’s Office, DOH has reviewed and adjusted our guidance to ensure New Yorkers who are eligible as essential workers are able to get vaccinated regardless of where they work — this tweak will help keep all New Yorkers safer as we continue to fight COVID,” Holmes continued.
The issue came to a head after Rockland County executives tried to make local accommodations for the couple to receive a vaccination shot, only to be told Thursday by the governor’s office that it would not be allowed, the newspaper reports.
New Jersey has not yet announced vaccinations for school workers.
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Gov. Cuomo reportedly punted when asked about the cross-state conundrum on Friday in Albany.
“I have no idea,” Cuomo said, according to the paper. “It’s like a mindbender.”
It was the second reversal of the day from state officials when it came to vaccinating more New Yorkers under Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination program.
Gov. Cuomo also announced that inmates at New York jails and prisons who are over the age of 65 or “medically frail” can begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday.
The move came hours after the state was served with a lawsuit for failing to provide vaccination for vulnerable inmates on Rikers Island.