By Alyssa Walrad

April 6 marked a major milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: all residents of New York State who are 16 years or older are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine. This expansion exponentially increases the population’s hopeful attitude and efforts toward some sense of normalcy, as we round the corner with about one in five Americans being fully vaccinated. By April 19, President Joe Biden will expand the eligibility to New York’s new guideline, but nationwide.

For NYS college students, the vaccine rollout eligibility and requirements can be especially confusing as regulations continue to change. This is especially true for out-of-state resident students who attend NYS colleges and universities. There are, however, a variety of means to go about in order to prove you are eligible for the vaccine. In NYS, it is required you have proof of both residency in New York, as well as a document that shows your age.  The following documents can be used as proof of residency:

  • a state or government-issued ID
  • statement from a landlord
  • a current rent receipt or lease.
  • mortgage records. 
  • statement from another person
  • current mail
  • school records

Proof of age can include the following documents:

  • driver’s license/ other government ID
  • birth certificate
  • passport
  • permanent resident card
  • certificate of naturalization or citizenship
  • life insurance policy
  • marriage certificate

Any combination of documents from each of these lists will suffice. If you are a resident MSMC student looking to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in NYS and need proof that you live on campus, you can contact the Resident Life Department via ResLife@msmc.edu

Yet, as eligibility increases, so does apprehension. According to NPR, about one in four people surveyed refuse to be vaccinated. Another challenge we face in the pandemic is the idea that we will eventually have more doses than people willing to be vaccinated. With this, scientists and medical professionals have relied on predictions that a majority, meaning “80% to 85%” of the population, must be vaccinated in order to reach a “herd-immunity threshold,” according to environmental science professor of Northeastern University Samuel Scarpino. Data and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control also includes those who have contracted the novel COVID-19 since the pandemic began. According to NPR, it is especially crucial for our well-being that anyone eligible get vaccinated, as “20% of the population are children under the age of 16.” With Summer on the way, Scarpino believes the fight to convince as many people as possible to get vaccinated will become increasingly difficult with lowering infection levels. Additionally, it appears that Summer is our marker in this pandemic, that “if we are below 60% to 70% vaccinated for COVID when we enter the fall respiratory season that could easily tip us into an emergency situation.” 

It is important to remain educated as possible of what each of the three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use entails, and where you can find sites administering the vaccine. Below are three links to PDFs, published by the FDA, that detail elements associated with the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. As more sites are being equipped with vaccines, vaccination appointments may be hard to come by. The NYS COVID-19 web page offers resources to help make this process easier, and can be accessed via https://vaccinefinder.org/ .

https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download (Pfizer)

https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download (Johnson & Johnson)

https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download (Moderna)