A frontline healthcare worker receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at Stony Brook University. State University of New York essential employees will be eligible for the vaccine starting March 17. ALEK LEWIS/THE STATESMAN

State University of New York essential employees will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine starting March 17.

On March 9, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the expanded eligibility to construction, government and nonprofit front facing workers. He also lowered the age-based eligibility requirement to 60-year-olds, which came into effect on March 10. 

“We were so pleased to hear the good news of New York State expanding eligibility requirements,” Lynn M. Johnson, Stony Brook University’s vice president of human resource services wrote in an email to The Statesman. “As we have with all other vaccine news, we were quick to share that information with employees who would now be eligible to get a vaccine. In this case, that includes in-person essential employees working on campus.”

The state also announced ten new state-run mass vaccination sites, one of which is at Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus.

“We’re excited to be able to administer more vaccines as they are becoming increasingly available from the federal government and, in turn, the State,” Johnson wrote. “And we are looking forward to being able to offer vaccinations at our Southampton campus when that site officially opens.”

In a statement on March 10, United University Professions President Frederick Kowal said that the SUNY essential employees in the agreement include residential life directors, counselors, instructional support staff, librarians, financial aid staff and researchers.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our members on the job, which is why UUP fought so diligently to ensure that all employees working in-person on campus be eligible for priority COVID-19 vaccinations,” Kowal said in the statement.

New Yorkers can find out their eligibility for the vaccine and schedule an appointment through the state’s “Am I Eligible?” website.


“This expansion brings us that much closer to defeating the virus; keeps our campus community among the safest with low positivity rates compared to our surrounding communities and Suffolk County; and helps us keep coming back safe and strong,” Johnson wrote. 


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