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COVID In New York: Gov. Cuomo Expands Vaccine Eligibility, Warns It Could Take Weeks Or Months To Get An Appointment

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Under intense pressure to expand COVID vaccine eligibility, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that starting Monday, millions more New Yorkers can begin making appointments to get vaccinated.

It's good news for police, firefighters, teachers, transit workers and those over 75.

But with over 4 million New Yorkers now eligible, the governor says it could take weeks, if not months, to get an actual appointment.

"Don't be surprised if the appointment is three months from today," Cuomo said Friday.


The governor says he's opening thousands of new distribution sites, including a mass distribution site at the Javits Center and at thousands of pharmacies and other locations.

But he says because of supply issues, the vaccine will have to be rationed, and so each group will get a the number of doses in proportion to the population.

WATCH: Gov. Cuomo Responds To Capitol Riots, Updates Vaccine Distribution In New York --

"Seventy-five-year-olds and older are 1.4 million. That's 45% of the 1b population. Whatever we get, we'll distribute regionally by percentage, and  45% of that will go to 75-year-olds," Cuomo said.

The governor also called on various unions to set up their own distribution systems, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reports.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said that his system will be ready to go on Monday.

"We want to go now, and I've been clear with everyone. We want to start moving now," he said.

The governor says the state is still only getting 300,000 doses a week and that he wants to make sure that even though he's expanded the eligibility, everyone is treated fairly; no one group should get priority over the other.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Discusses COVID Vaccine Distribution --

This came as Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was going to use the city's unused doses immediately no matter what.

"New York City has heard enough. We will begin administering shots to city workers and the elderly in 1B starting on Monday," de Blasio tweeted Friday.

RELATED STORY -- COVID In New York: Distribution Restrictions For Vaccine Creating Tension Between Mayor Bill De Blasio, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

It also came as there were reports of wasted vaccines.

A doctor at the Family Health Center of Harlem told CBS2 that because of restricted eligibility, several doses had to be thrown away.

The governor said that health care workers at every location had to get the vaccine first before they interface with the public, because he doesn't want them to become superspreaders.


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