COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available in the Disability Community

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Governor Cuomo has released a list of comorbidities and underlying conditions that will make people under the age of 65 eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.  If you are not already eligible based on your age, many of you will become eligible and will be able to schedule your vaccination appointments on February 14th. 

How to get the vaccination

For people under the age of 65 with listed comorbidities, there are three ways to get a vaccine.  First, doctors’ offices are identifying eligible patients and calling them in a randomized order to schedule a vaccine.  Second, the state runs their own vaccination sites independent of local sites.  Finally, local health departments are vaccinating individuals.  When the local health department receives its shipment each week, links are opened for eligible people to schedule appointments – the number of appointments limited by the number of doses of vaccine received.  If you are 65 or older, you may also be able to get vaccinated through a local pharmacy.

Eligible conditions

According to the New York State Department of Health website, adults of any age with the following conditions due to increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death from the virus that causes COVID-19 are eligible 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

Please be advised that the list of conditions or comorbidities may change. 

CDR has concerns about the list and is actively working to ensure that the vaccine is available to individuals who are at serious risk.  This includes individuals with schizophrenia, osteogenesis imperfect, muscular dystrophy and other conditions that put people at risk from COVID-19.  If you think you should qualify but are unsure about the criteria, contact CDR.

How to get a vaccination through your doctor’s office

Doctors’ offices are contacting their patients directly to schedule the vaccine appointments.

How to get a vaccination at a state-run site

On Sunday, February 14th, the state portal to schedule a vaccination will open to people with comorbidities.  You can find the portal online at  Individuals who have scheduled vaccines report that people are more successful at securing appointments on the website during “off” hours such as late at night or early in the morning.  Alternatively, you can call the Department of Health at (833) 697-4829.

The Governor’s announcement stated you must show documentation proving a comorbidity, and that the documentation must be:

  • Doctor’s Letter, or
  • Medical Information Evidencing Comorbidity, or
  • Signed Certification


State-run vaccination sites are listed at:

How to get a vaccination through your local County Health Department

Contact your local County Health Department to find out its individual plan for vaccination roll out.  

Here are the Public Health phone numbers by county:

Allegany: 585-268-9250

Chemung: 607-737-2028

Genesee: 585-344-2580 x5555

Livingston: 585-243-7270

Monroe: 585-753-2991

Niagara: 716-439-7435

Ontario: 585-396-4343

Orleans: 585-344-2580 x5555

Schuyler: 607-535-8140

Seneca: 315-539-1920

Steuben: 607-664-2438

Tioga: 607-687-8630

Wayne: 315-946-5749

Wyoming: 585-786-8890

Yates: 607-535-8140

Please be advised that County Health Departments receive directives from the state each week regarding which populations to target for vaccine that week.  When the County Health Department receives its shipment of vaccine each week, links are opened for eligible people to schedule appointments.  The number of appointments are limited by the number of doses of vaccine received.

How to get a vaccination through your pharmacy if you are 65 or older

Each pharmacy may be doing vaccinations a little bit differently.  You can access your pharmacy online or call them directly to find out if they are providing vaccinations to meet your situation or circumstance.

The following pharmacies may be offering vaccines in our area:

Tops – click here for more information. 

Wegmans – click here for more information.

Walgreens – click here for more information.

I need more assistance

A lot of people think this is very confusing.  If you need assistance with understanding your eligibility and vaccination options or scheduling your vaccination appointment, feel free to call CDR for assistance.