NEW YORK -New York will join a handful of US states that have lowered their eligibility age for coronavirus vaccines to 50, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday (Mar 22).
The state, the country's fourth most populous, had restricted eligibility to residents who are at least 60 years old, have pre-existing health conditions or are essential workers, especially those who come in contact with the public.
"We are dropping the age and vaccinating more people," Cuomo said at a church in Mount Vernon, New York, where he launched a campaign to encourage houses of worship to make themselves available as vaccination sites.
With the change, which takes effect on Tuesday, New York joins Florida, the third largest state, which lowered its eligibility age on Monday, and a handful of other states that have made vaccines available to healthy people who are 50 years old or younger.
In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey lowered the eligibility age to 16 at state-run vaccination sites in three populous southern counties, effective Wednesday. Three other counties already have eligibility at 16, but most are at 55.
Alaska has the lowest statewide eligibility age at 16. Its vaccination rate is among the highest in the country, with 31.5 per cent of its residents having received at least one dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
New York has administered at least one dose to 26.1 per cent of its residents and Florida has administered it to 23.8per cent, according to the CDC, which updated its data on Sunday.
Nationwide, the CDC said 24.9 per cent of US residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 13.5per cent are fully vaccinated.