New York engaged on honest distribution plan of COVID-19 vaccine

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York continues to work on getting the COVID-19 vaccine to the people who need it the most. The biggest issue that remains statewide is the supply and that issue has forced Governor Andrew Cuomo to re-evaluate how the state is prioritizing who should get a shot sooner.

The Governor signed an executive order over the weekend ordering specific vaccination sites to prioritize certain groups of people. The point of the executive order is to quantify and makes it law for the priorities.

  •  Healthcare workers are to be vaccinated at hospitals or federal qualified health centers
  • Local health departments and county governments can vaccinated and must prioritize essential workers in the Phase 1B category.
  • Pharmacies and state mass vaccination sites are to prioritize individuals that are 65+.

The state says they are allocating doses to these provider classes to represent the fair distribution. Providers, unless otherwise directed should not schedule appointments until they receive an allocation and no more appointments should be scheduled than the actual allocation allows. 

News10 spoke to the New York State Department of Health on Tuesday. A spokesperson says anyone who was eligible and already had a previously appointment will not be bumped due to Governor Cuomo’s executive order.

That new executive order prompted concern from Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton. She says the new executive order removes a county’s ability to vaccinate those 65 and older.

“We have to tell those folks sorry we can’t do this in Saratoga Springs. You’re going to have to find a drug store, pharmacy or one of the state sites to get vaccinated. It’s just not reasonable for our area,” said Dalton.  

For those mass state distribution sites, prioritizing 65+ and essential workers is about 4.9M New Yorkers are eligible to get the shot. That can present a challenge for the aging population in New York, as many of the state mass vaccination sites are scheduling appointments several months out

“The closest mass site to Saratoga Springs is Albany and all the appointments were booked up to two weeks ago. Then your looking to drive to Plattsburgh or Utica. Even those sites the earliest vaccine appointment available is maybe mid to late March,” said Dalton.

The state recommends keep checking availabilities as more appointments will open as more vaccines start coming out.

Another 250,000 doses of the vaccine are arriving this week to New York from the federal government.

  • 1.2M doses of the vaccine have been administered in the state
  • 166K people fully vaccinated with both does in the state
  • 90,552 people in the Capital Region have received their first dose

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