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New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arizona expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines

New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, Arizona expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines
© Greg Nash

New York, Tennessee, West Virginia and Arizona on Monday announced expansions of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements, lowering the minimum age for people to receive vaccines.

New Yorkers age 50 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine starting on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoCuomo accuser blasts governor's 'Trumpian gaslighting' over harassment allegations Cuomo defends himself, pushes back amid harassment probe Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief MORE (D) announced in a statement.

"We continue to kick vaccinations into overdrive throughout the state by expanding eligibility, establishing new vaccination sites and allowing providers to reach new populations," Cuomo said.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced that adults age 55 and older, in addition to people who work in critical infrastructure industries, are now officially eligible to receive a vaccine.

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Lee also said that all state residents age 16 and older will be able to receive a vaccine beginning April 5. 

“And here’s the big news: no later than April 5, every Tennessean age 16 and up will be eligible to receive the vaccine,” he said in a video statement. “The federal government has asked us to make sure every adult can receive access by May 1, and Tennessee will beat that deadline.”

All individuals age 16 and older in West Virginia are also now eligible to receive the vaccine, Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced. 

West Virginia on Monday became the third state to open COVID-19 vaccinations up to all adults, joining Alaska and Mississippi, The New York Times noted.

And all individuals age 16 and older in Arizona will be eligible to receive vaccines at state-operated inoculation sites in Maricopa, Pima and Yuma counties beginning on Wednesday, Gov. Doug DuceyDoug DuceyAbrams issues sharp rebuke to Arizona GOP governor for signing 'devastating anti-voter bill' Arizona governor signs controversial election bill into law Detroit police chief planning GOP gubernatorial run against Whitmer MORE (R) wrote in a statement.

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"Our goal has been and remains to get vaccine into the community as quickly, widely and equitably as possible," Ducey said in a statement. "Given a thorough review of vaccination data, anticipated vaccine supply, and current demand among prioritized groups, now is the time to take this critical next step."

The governors' announcements come as states are racing to meet President Biden’s goal of opening up vaccinations to all adults by May 1, with hopes that if this target is met, the country can experience a semblance of normalcy by the Fourth of July.

“I'm announcing that I will direct all states, tribes and territories to make all adults, people 18 and over, eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1,” Biden said during an address to the nation earlier this month. 

“And let me be clear, that doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1. Every adult will be eligible to get their shot.”