New York City COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

Spencer Lee
Spencer Lee25 Mar 2021

Quick Digest

  • Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have all received emergency use authorization from the FDA for the use of their Covid-19 vaccines.
  • Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are >94% effective at preventing Covid-19 infection, and require two doses, spaced three to four weeks apart. Though similarly effective, these vaccines are not interchangeable. You must get the same vaccine for your second dose as you did for your first dose.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is >66% effective at preventing Covid-19, and only requires a single dose.
  • New York is following a phased distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. This means that only people identified as eligible in the current phases will be able to receive the vaccine. Currently, only those in Phase 1A and Phase 1B are eligible to receive the vaccine. We outline the requirements below.


What is the difference among the Covid-19 vaccines?

There are currently three FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines: 1) Pfizer-BioNTech 2) Moderna and 3) Johnson & Johnson. While these three vaccines all are effective at preventing Covid-19, they differ in terms of the number of doses needed and their effectiveness. Most often, you do not get to choose which vaccine you get, but below is a chart outlining their differences. 

Pfizer-BioNTechModernaJohnson & Johnson
>94% Effective>94% Effective>66% Effective
2 doses, spaced 3 weeks apart2 doses, spaced 4 weeks apartSingle Dose
mRNA vaccine that carries the blueprint for Covid-19 spike proteins, which allows your body to make these proteins and target the real virus if exposedmRNA vaccine that carries the blueprint for Covid-19 spike proteins, which allows your body to make these proteins and target the real virus if exposedAdenovirus vaccine that uses the “shell” of Covid-19 to carry the DNA blueprint of the spike proteins into your body, allowing your body to make these proteins and target the real thing if exposed 
Health Image

Get Mira - Health Benefits You Can Afford.

Get doctor visits, lab tests, prescription, and more. Affordable copays. Available in 45+ states. Only $45/month on average.


When will I be eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine in New York City?

New York State is vaccinating its population in line with a phased distribution. This means that the most vulnerable members of the population are prioritized to receive the vaccine in the initial phases of distribution.

Currently, members in Phase 1A and 1B are eligible to receive the vaccine. This means that the following people are eligible:

Phase 1A and 1B Qualifications:

  • Individuals Age 50 and older who reside in New York
  • First Responder or Support Staff for First Responder Agency
  • Fire
    • State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
    • Local Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
  • Police and Investigations
    • State Police, including Troopers
    • State Park Police, DEC Police, Forest Rangers
    • SUNY Police
    • Sheriffs' Offices
    • County Police Departments and Police Districts
    • City, Town, and Village Police Departments
    • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments
    • State Field Investigations, including DMV, SCOC, Justice Center, DFS, IG, Tax, OCFS, SLA
  • Public Safety Communications
    • Emergency Communication and PSAP Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
  • Other Sworn and Civilian Personnel
    • Court Officer
    • Other Police or Peace Officer
    • Support or Civilian Staff for Any of the Above Services, Agencies, or Facilities
  • Corrections
    • State DOCCS Personnel, including correction and parole officers
    • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers
    • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers
    • State Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
    • Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities
  • P-12 Schools
    • P-12 school (public or non-public) or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff including bus drivers)
    • Contractor working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
    • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group childcare
  • In-person college faculty and essential in-person staff
  • Employees or Support Staff of licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Setting
  • Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group Childcare Provider
  • Public Transit
    • Airline and airport employee
    • Passenger railroad employee
    • Subway and mass transit employee (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
    • Ferry employee
    • Port Authority employee
    • Public bus employee
  • Public facing grocery store workers, including convenience stores, bodegas, regional food banks, food pantries and permitted home-delivered meal programs
  • Individual living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of your household
  • Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents
  • High-risk hospital and FQHC staff, including OMH psychiatric centers
  • Health care or other high-risk essential staff who come into contact with residents/patients working in LTCFs and long-term, congregate settings overseen by OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, OTDA and OASAS, and residents in congregate living situations, overseen or funded by the OPWDD, OMH, OCFS, OTDA and OASAS
  • Certified NYS EMS provider, including but not limited to Certified First Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Advanced Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Technician – Critical Care, Paramedic, Ambulance Emergency Vehicle Operator, or Non-Certified Ambulance Assistant
  • County Coroner or Medical Examiner, or employer or contractor thereof who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids
  • Licensed funeral director, or owner, operator, employee, or contractor of a funeral firm licensed and registered in New York State, who is exposed to infectious material or bodily fluids
  • Staff of urgent care provider
  • Staff who administer COVID-19 vaccine
  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Home care workers and aides, hospice workers, personal care aides, and consumer-directed personal care workers
  • Staff and residents of nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and adult care facilities
  • Restaurant employees, including workers in permitted soup kitchen and congregate meal programs*
  • Restaurant delivery workers*
  • Public facing hotel workers*
  • For-hire vehicle drivers, including taxi, livery, black car, and transportation network company drivers*
  • Public-facing government and public employees
  • Not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need
  • Essential in-person public-facing building service workers

*Eligible for vaccination at State-operated mass vaccination sites, and, at the option of local health departments (LHDs) at LHD-operated point of distribution sites.

List of Comorbidities and Underlying Conditions:

New Yorkers age 16 and older with the following conditions qualify for the vaccine:

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer's Disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

Beginning May 1, President Biden has announced that all Americans will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccination. This means that you will not have to qualify under any of the qualifications under the phases outlined above. Instead, you will simply be able to sign up for a vaccine.


Health Image

Virtual care for only $25 per visit

Virtual primary care, urgent care, and behavioral health visits are only $25 with a Mira membership.

I am eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine in New York City? How can I sign up?

Signing up for the Covid-19 vaccine can be hard and time-consuming. Here are some resources that can help:

Turbovax — finds available appointments for Covid-19 vaccination at government-run sites in the NYC area

VaccineFinder and NYC Vaccine List — finds available appointments at local clinics and pharmacies

NYC Vaccine Finder — find any available vaccine in the NYC area based on your zipcode

Dr. B — get notified when surplus vaccines are available in your area




Spencer Lee

Spencer is a Public Health & Biology undergraduate student at New York University.