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Tuesday, Mar 02, 2021 at 8:00 pm

Some SU Students Now Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine

By Lindsey Fine

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – New York state residents with underlying health conditions who are 16-years-old and older became eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as of Feb. 15. 

“We’re committed to vaccinating vulnerable populations that have suffered the most as we distribute a strictly limited supply of vaccines, and people with comorbidities are 94 percent of the state’s COVID deaths,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Syracuse University students and New York residents register for vaccine appointments at ny.gov, New York State’s official website, by filling out a virtual form with their information, including if they have a comorbidity.

Qualifying underlying conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, intellectual and developmental disabilities, heart conditions, immunocompromised state, Severe Obesity,, Obesity, Pregnancy, Sickle cell disease, Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, neurologic conditions and liver disease. Students and other New York residents must bring either a doctor’s letter, medical information evidencing their comorbidity or signed certification to the vaccination site proving they have a qualifying condition to the vaccination sites. 

Syracuse University junior Jordan Schechter got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the New York State Fairgrounds after she learned she has a qualifying comorbidity. She said registering for the first dose of the vaccine appointment was frustrating and difficult. 

“It is a really horrible and annoying experience,” Schechter said. 

Schechter also said getting a vaccine appointment was easier for her because she lives in New York, but her friends who came to SU from a different state had a harder time registering because they had to prove they qualified for New York state residency. 

Full-time SU students with an underlying health condition are qualified to receive the vaccine because they live in New York for more than 184 days. To prove they live in New York, students can provide one of the following: state or government-issued ID, statement from landlord, current rent receipt or lease or mortgage records. Students can also provide two of the following: a statement from another person, current mail or school records to prove they qualify for New York state residency. 

Eligible students likely went to the New York State Fairgrounds because it was the closest vaccination site to campus. It is currently administering the Pfizer vaccine and is one of 19 vaccination sites across the state. Schecter said seeing the exposition center being used as a mass vaccination site when she knew it as the location of the New York State Fair was “crazy.” 

“It’s kind of surreal,” Schechter said. “I’ve been to the New York State Fair, so rolling in was kind of a weird experience.”