How will a COVID-19 vaccine work and who will get it? The NYS Department of Health has released a draft COVID-19 Vaccination Administration Program to ensure safe and effective distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine in New York.

Given the many unknowns in the vaccine development process, the program is designed to be flexible and account for multiple variables.

"We are coming up with a plan on many presumptions. We don't know how many doses we're going to get. We don't know what vaccine we're going to get. We don't know when we're going to get it. The state will have a statewide vaccination plan. We will do it in concert with the federal government. The federal government is in charge of producing the actual vaccine and distributing the vaccines," said Governor Cuomo. "States cannot do this on their own. Period. This is a massive undertaking. This is a larger operational undertaking than anything we have done under COVID to date. This is a more complicated undertaking and task. And we need the federal government to be a competent partner with this state and with every state."

Once a save and effective vaccine has been approved, the Program prioritizes who will get it and when. Those most at risk and essential workers will be given first priority, with particular attention paid to those living in communities with highest COVID prevalence.

Phase One

  • Healthcare workers (clinical and non-clinical) in patient care settings (ICU, ED, EMS top priority)
  • Long-term care facility workers who regularly interact with residents
  • Most at-risk long-term care facility patients
  • Phase Two

  • First responders (fire, police, national guard)
  • Teachers/school staff (in-person instructions), childcare providers
  • Public Health workers
  • Other essential frontline workers that regularly interact with public (pharmacists, grocery store workers, transit employees, etc.) or maintain critical infrastructure
  • Other long-term care facility patients and those living in other congregate settings
  • Individuals in general population deemed particularly high risk due to comorbidities and health conditions
  • Phase Three

  • Individuals over 65
  • Individuals under 65 with high-risk
  • All other essential workers will fall under Phase Four. Health adults and children are in Phase Five.

    Will you get a vaccine when it's approved?