Health depts. to notify residents of vaccine availability

OFFICE OF GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO/PHOTOCars line up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the 213 Connecticut Rd. COVID-19 vaccination site in Plattsburgh on Jan. 18. Retail pharmacies continue to be directed to vaccinate only those who are 65 or older, after administering the jabs to their own patient-facing staff. 

PLATTSBURGH — Local health departments plan to notify residents with qualifying medical conditions when they have COVID-19 vaccine for them.

Earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a list of comorbidities and underlying conditions that, as of Monday, made any adult New Yorker who has them eligible to be vaccinated, as they live with increased risk of serious illness or death from the coronavirus.

A full list of the conditions, which range from pulmonary disease and heart conditions to weakened immune systems, is available at https://tinyurl.com/y2c9zwy5.

State Department of Health guidance that went into effect Monday says that people with these conditions can receive vaccine at state-run mass vaccinations sites and locations designated by local health departments.

Retail pharmacies continue to be directed to vaccinate only those who are 65 or older, after administering the jabs to their own patient-facing staff.

People can currently register by visiting https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/, calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX or contacting their local pharmacy.

ANTICIPATED VACCINES

Clinton County Health Department Senior Public Health Educator Molly Flynn said her agency had yet to receive vaccine allotment this week and typically gets 200 to 300 doses.

Per DOH guidance, they are still focusing on Phase 1A and 1B vaccination groups, which includes those with underlying health conditions.

Essex County Health Department Program Coordinator Andrea Whitmarsh said a second-dose point of distribution (POD) clinic at Moriah Central School is slated for Wednesday, specifically for Phase 1B essential workers who received their first doses last month. Registration was already complete as of Tuesday.

Both ECHD and Franklin County Public Health anticipate receiving 100 doses for Phase 1B workers and 100 for those with qualifying medical conditions this week.

"Once we confirm receipt of these vaccines, we plan to publicly announce (to our website, Facebook page, et cetera) registration links for these 200 vaccines," Whitmarsh said.

'HANG IN THERE'

CCHD said in a press release that a certificate of eligibility certifying residents' membership in a priority vaccine group is completed with each registration, so a doctor's letter is not necessary.

County Director of Public Health John Kanoza said in a statement that his agency has been collaborating with other North Country health departments and representatives of the state-run vaccination site in Plattsburgh.

“We want to make the process as easy as possible without creating barriers to receiving the vaccine,” he added.

Franklin County Public Health has developed a personal attestation form that eligible residents will have to sign, which is available at https://tinyurl.com/3dz6rfwd.

Those with questions about whether their medical conditions qualify are directed to contact their primary care providers.

Kanoza said he understood the process was confusing and frustrating for many.

“I ask you all to hang in there, we will receive more vaccine in the coming months, and we will be able to get that vaccine to you. CCHD will continue to communicate as we learn more.”

Email Cara Chapman:

cchapman@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

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