Vaccine shortage persists, 2nd doses approach

The shortage of COVID vaccines continues in the Twin Counties, even as second doses of the two-dose vaccine are needed. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

As the Twin Counties continue to be shorted on their COVID-19 vaccine orders, residents will soon be needing their second doses.

Greene County received 400 of the 1,000 that were ordered last week and this week will receive 100 out of 1,000.

More than 500 Greene County residents were vaccinated Jan. 7-8, and will need their second doses next week. The Moderna vaccine is delivered in two doses, 28 days apart.

“That 100 doses won’t go very far,” Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said. “Our bigger problem is going to come in next week when we start needing the second dose. The state is aware of how many they sent us in first doses and assured us we will get corresponding doses, but that remains to be seen.”

The 400 vaccines distributed last week came with specific instructions for distribution, Linger said, adding he was unaware if the 100 doses this week will also have specific criteria.

The Greene County Public Health Department distributed 300 vaccines to seniors in congregate living situations last week, including Bethany Village in Coxsackie, Kaaterskill Manor in Catskill and the Athens Senior Center. Residents at Catskill Mountain Housing facilities were transported to Kaaterskill Manor for their inoculations. Vaccines were also administered at senior centers in Windham and Tannersville, as well as Hop-o-Nose in Catskill.

The other 100 doses were administered to essential workers in group 1B.

“Due to the slow rollout to pharmacies, New York State unexpectedly provided the Greene County Public Health Department a one-time allotment of 300 inoculations to administer to residents of senior housing facilities,” according to a statement from Greene County Public Health. “This last-minute notification and change in direction from New York State was received on Tuesday at 9 a.m. and by noon on Wednesday, swift action by our Public Health Department along with the Emergency Operations Center had all the logistics in place to deliver the entire allocation.”

The county has not received any information about when local pharmacies will receive the vaccine, Linger said.

“We’ve asked to have that available to us, we still don’t have it,” he said. “So I don’t know if our only receiving 100 means that some of the pharmacies and medical offices will be getting theirs, I don’t know that.”

The county is also developing a website so residents can register for the vaccine, Linger said.

“We’re working on not a registration of appointments, but a registration to receive the vaccine so we know who is waiting to receive it,” he said. “Right now we can’t scheduled appointments without having the vaccine.”

Eligible residents can also sign up for a state vaccination site, such as at University at Albany.

“I know [the state sites] are booking out pretty far, but I don’t know that we’re going to have it any sooner either,” Linger said.

Veterans enrolled with Veterans Affairs Healthcare should contact their Veterans Affairs primary health care provider about receiving a vaccine at the Albany Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Veterans who are not enrolled in Veterans Affairs Healthcare who wish to enroll should contact the Greene County Veterans Service Agency at 518-943-3703. The Veterans Service Agency will also provide transportation for eligible veterans scheduled for vaccinations.

Seniors can also check with their pharmacy or doctor’s office about getting the vaccine.

To see if you are eligible for the vaccine, visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or call the state’s vaccination hotline at 1-833-697-4829.

To register for an appointment, visit https://forms.ny.gov/s3/vaccine.

The Columbia County Department of Health held two vaccination PODs, or points of distribution, last week — one on Thursday for county residents in the 1B category and one Friday for people over age 65.

“We really have this down,” said Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb. “We really know how to do this well. Our POD on Friday was actually our biggest.”

Columbia County was able to vaccinate 100 people Thursday and 400 Friday, said Mabb.

Columbia had been given 400 vaccines for seniors because there have been no nursing homes in Columbia County where people over 65 can go to receive one.

“PODs with senior citizens are great because they are just so grateful that you’re there for them,” Mabb said.

This week the county will receive 100 vaccines to give to essential workers and 100 vaccines to give to people over 65, Mabb said.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

(1) comment

scottmyers

Thank you for this report.

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