Starting on February 15th, people under the age of 65 with certain pre-existing conditions will now qualify for vaccination under the state's guidelines. The governor’s office released a list of qualifying conditions Friday afternoon.
“Co-morbidities and age are the major factors in COVID mortality,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing Friday morning, adding that most people who died from COVID-19 had some sort of pre-existing condition. State data shows COVID-19 fatalities are more common among New Yorkers with hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and dementia than other pre-existing conditions.
The state had said people with pre-existing conditions would be eligible for vaccines in mid-January but then no updates were given for weeks. The delay left an estimated 4 million New Yorkers with pre-existing conditions in a perpetual state of anxiety.
According to the CDC, people with health conditions including chronic kidney disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetics, obesity, smoking and sickle cell disease are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Some preliminary connections have also been drawn between asthma, cystic fibrosis, hypertension or high blood pressure.
Editor's note: This story was updated to include the state's list of qualifying conditions.