April 6 (UPI) -- Beginning Tuesday, all New York residents over the age of 16 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, making close to 2 million more people eligible in the state.
Until now, only adults of certain ages have been allowed to receive one of the three vaccines approved for use in the United States.
Health officials say the change Tuesday makes almost 16 million New Yorkers eligible to receive the vaccine. Under the rules, teens 16 and 17 years old are only eligible for Pfizer's vaccine, as it's the only one authorized nationwide for use in recipients under 18.
"More than 10 million New Yorkers have received the first dose and we're not stopping now, but there's a long way to go until we've reached a comfortable level of safety."
In neighboring New Jersey, health officials expanded eligibility Monday to residents over 55 and those over 16 who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
"With an increasing supply of vaccine from the federal government, New Jersey has been ramping up the pace of doses ... allowing us to extend eligibility to all adults sooner than expected," New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a report by WNBC-TV.
Also Tuesday, Maryland expanded vaccine eligibility to residents over 16 and Maine residents over 16 will become eligible Wednesday.