COVID-19 Vaccine Access Expands To Ages 16 and Over in NY

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As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, all New Yorkers aged 16 and up have been qualified to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the county's last major expansion and one that falls weeks ahead of President Joe Biden's deadline for a nationwide release.

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo extended coverage to people aged 30 and up, as well as announcing that people aged 16 to 29 will be qualified effective April 6. According to health authorities, the development brings the total number of qualified New Yorkers to about 16 million.

In addition, the State University of New York revealed its aims to provide vaccinations to tens of thousands of university students before they return back for the summer.  

Teenagers between 16 and 17 would only be eligible to undergo the Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose shot, as it is the only one that has been licensed for use for those under the age of 18. At government locations, parental consent would be necessary for vaccinations of 16- and 17-year-olds, with certain exceptions, such as teenagers who are married or parents.

READ: COVID-19 Vaccine: What To Do If You Are Vaccinated and Your Kids Are Not

"Now is the time that we have to crush it, once and for all," Governor Andrew Cuomo stated. "And the first step towards doing that is you have to take the vaccine, you have to take the vaccine," he added.

Increased access, according to New York state health authorities, would help reduce COVID-19 outbreaks and hospital admissions, particularly among young people and Generation Xers.

As per the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in every five New York state inhabitants has been completely vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday. A little more than a third of the population in the state had gotten at least one shot of the vaccine.

ALSO READ: Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine Is Safe for Kids, Some Are Skeptical

FAQ about the COVID-19 vaccine for ages

Do kids sign up the same way adults do, or do they go through their pediatrician?

Vaccines are currently unavailable in most office environments. As a consequence, the method of signing up is close to that of an adult. The vaccine is only available to 16 and 17-year-olds with parental consent.

Are the vaccines safe for kids that age?

They are, indeed. Such vaccinations have been assessed using the same testing technique that was used for the initial rollout of such vaccines. The study still is underway, but the findings indicate that once vaccinated, there are fewer possible side effects and a greater chance of being completely shielded against the COVID-19.

When it comes to side effects/risks, are there different concerns for kids vs. adults?

The vaccine's adverse effects are still mild, and the chances are minimal in all groups. The most serious side effects are body cramps including soreness at the site of injection. Children would also need monitoring right after their vaccines, as well as two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

READ MORE: Why Some Parents Oppose COVID-19 Vaccine for Children

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