What it is advisable to find out about a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Brooklyn

The launch of the vaccine in New York was fraught with bottlenecks and confusion, and those entitled found the process of securing an appointment for the life-saving shock tedious and time-consuming.

Earlier this week, New York State officially announced the largest expansion of vaccination eligibility since the first vaccination was approved in late December, allowing anyone with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, cancer, kidney disease, mental and developmental disorders. Lung disease or high blood pressure – to get the shot as long as they bring a certificate to their appointment.

This reportedly made about 4.5 million New Yorkers eligible for the vaccine. To make the process the easiest way possible, Brooklyn Paper has prepared a guide on how to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Kings County.

Make sure you are authorized
New York State’s launch of the vaccine has been through the following phases, with the state currently in Phase 1b. As of February 18, New York City had administered 1,399,055 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Phase 1a

Healthcare workers and residents and employees of nursing homes.

Phase 1b

Basic workforce, including school staff, grocery store clerks, grocery service clerks and taxi drivers, as well as those over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions.

Phase 1c

Phase 1c is expected to begin between March and April and will include all other material employees and persons with pre-existing conditions. The exact qualifications have yet to be determined by the state.

Phase 2

In Phase 2, all New Yorkers qualify for the jab. Most of the federal government’s predictions say this could happen in late spring or early summer.

Photo by Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office

How to get the COVID-19 vaccine appointment
While both the city and the state are pushing the vaccine as the key to recovery, critics claim they didn’t exactly make the appointment scheduling process easy. The city and state have separate websites for their separately operated vaccination centers, and both have proven clunky and confusing, especially for the elderly and technically less inclined.

State offices in and around New York City include the Javits Center in Manhattan, the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, and Jones Beach on Long Island. On the other hand, the city is administering doses at dozens of hospitals and medical centers around the five wards.

In addition, New Yorkers over 65 can use the city’s website and phone number to schedule appointments at some pharmacies, such as Walgreens, Duane Reade, Rite Aid, and Costco.

To book an appointment on a state website, visit www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or call 1-833-NYS-4-vax
To book an appointment on a city-run website, visit www.vaccinefinder.nyc.gov or call 1-877-VAX-4NYC

In response to the frustration New Yorkers expressed when requesting an appointment on both websites, a volunteer set up an independent website that, at turbovax.info, makes it clearer where appointments are available and where not. There is also www.nycvaccinelist.com.

Meanwhile, the city is developing a home-country vaccination plan for seniors that will first require an army of home health workers to be vaccinated to visit seniors and give them the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose is.

“We will reach you right there,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio last week. “This will be the start of a much bigger effort to reach seniors in their own buildings.”

Covid19 vaccination

Photo by Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office

What you need when you get there
The vaccine is 100 percent free, but you will need to provide proof of eligibility.

If you are eligible by age, you will need to provide proof of age and a New York residency. Proof of age can include: driver’s license or non-driver’s license.

If you are eligible about your job, proof of employment is a must. Depending on the priority status, this could include an employee ID or badge, a letter from an employer or an affiliated organization, or a pay slip.

If you’re in the millions right now because of comorbidities, you don’t need a doctor’s letter (but with reports that patients have been mistakenly turned away if you have one – it won’t hurt). However, you will need to sign a self-certification (be it from the state or another version, depending on where your appointment was made).

Our advice
Keep trying. To date, the city has received a total of 1,765,000 doses of the vaccine, of which just over 80 percent have been given. Every week the federal government has delivered more vials of Pfizer and Moderna shots – and the weekly supply has steadily increased.

It takes a lot of perseverance and even more luck to get an appointment. We know the process can be daunting, but with a supposedly larger supply of vaccine in sight, we recommend refreshment, refreshment, refreshment. And if there is a phone number, keep calling.

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally ran in Brooklyn Paper. Click here to see the original story.

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