Vaccine eligibility should be expanded to include those who work in food pantries in New York, state lawmakers wrote in a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.
The letter comes as the state has expanded eligibility this week for the vaccine to include restaurant workers, taxi drivers, and those in facilities that provide services to people with developmental disabilities.
Cuomo had previously delcared food pantry workers essential during the pandemic.
"Given this definition, food pantry employees were eligible to be included in phase 1b of the state's vaccine rollout along with other classes of essential workers yet were excluded," wrote Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, and Assemblyman John McDonald.
"Although food pantry employees working directly in homeless shelters are eligible to begin scheduling their vaccinations, employees of food pantries not located at or in homeless shelters remain ineligible."
Unemployment has spiked during the pandemic, creating a higher volume of need at food pantries around the country.
New York, like every state, is sent a limited supply of the vaccine from the federal government for distribution, creating a bottleneck of supply versus demand for the shot.
The state is now receiving about 300,000 doses from the federal government. An increase in doses this week enabled state officials to expand eligibility this week, with shots being administered through public health departments.