Vaccine cancellation for Rockland residents who work out of state sparks confusion
Residents who live in Rockland but work in New Jersey were apparently denied coronavirus vaccines, causing confusion.
New City resident Lindsay Richmond works as a teacher in New Jersey. Due to her occupation, she was denied a COVID-19 vaccination twice in one week.
"My heart kind of sunk,” says Richmond. “Disappointed again to go through this again, I would just like to get vaccinated.”
County Executive Ed Day says today’s cancellation came directly from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
It’s common for Rockland residents to work in New Jersey due to the proximity. For that reason, the county requested and was awarded the ability to vaccinate residents who work out of state weeks ago.
"We live here, we pay taxes here, we send our kids to school here, we shop here,” says Richmond. "We are essential workers just like my neighbors who are essential workers. We deserve the vaccine.”
Upon learning about the denial of Richmond’s first appointment at the Westchester County Center, health officials in Rockland rebooked her vaccination for today.
"I actually did get a call from the governor's office on this matter that there were two people getting vaccinated who were residents in Rockland County and worked in New Jersey,” says Day. “I was told point-blank we couldn't do it, meanwhile we had the state Department of Health saying we should do it.”
News 12 asked Gov. Cuomo about the confusion during a press conference on Feb. 5, in which he said it was likely a mistake.
Secretary to the governor Melissa DeRosa said, “Teachers in New York who work in New York can get vaccinated in New York, the same way firefighters and police can regardless of which states they’re in and are also honored with reciprocity."
Gov. Cuomo added that their “policy is they would receive a vaccine in the state.”
In a statement, a New York Department of Health spokesperson said, "Our singular goal is vaccinating New Yorkers as quickly and efficiently as possible and following conversations today between county executives, our health experts, and the governor’s office, DOH has reviewed and adjusted our guidance to ensure New Yorkers who are eligible as essential workers are able to get vaccinated regardless of where they work -- this tweak will help keep all New Yorkers safer as we continue to fight COVID.”
As for Richmond, her wish is finally coming true. The county has already rebooked her and her husband’s appointments for Sunday.