More Vaccines Promised

Feds to increase allocation to state by 16 percent

Over the past few weeks, Drug World of Cold Spring has taken the doses of COVID-19 vaccine it receives from the state and administered them to a fortunate few inside the Parish Hall at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. 

And each week Drug World’s owner, Heidi Snyder, hears from some of the unfortunate many — residents and family members of residents unable to score an appointment. 

People are angry and frustrated with the system, said Snyder, who spent part of Wednesday (Jan. 27) working her way through 40 voicemail messages. 

“It breaks my heart,” she says. “I would like to be able to take care of everybody.”

A modest shot in the arm is on the way. 

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday (Jan. 26) that vaccine distribution to the states will rise to 10 million doses from 8.6 million — a 16 percent increase — starting next week. Biden also said that instead of telling states each week the number of doses they will receive, the federal government will begin offering three-week forecasts. 

New York was allotted about 500,000 doses this week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Half that amount is for people ready for their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, both of which require two doses given weeks apart. The remaining 250,000 doses were the state’s allotment for first shots.

As of Wednesday, the Mid-Hudson Region, which includes Dutchess, Putnam and five other counties, had administered 70 percent of the 179,475 doses it had received. Across the state, 96 percent of 1.3 million first doses and 33 percent of 564,600 second doses received from the federal government had been administered.

The Dutchess County health department has received 600 doses during each of the last few weeks. When it sent out an email notification on Tuesday to residents who had subscribed at bit.ly/vaccine-email announcing appointments for Thursday at the former JCPenney store at the Poughkeepsie Galleria, the slots filled in three minutes.

“Until greater supply is available, we urge everyone to try to remain patient and keep up the safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said County Executive Marc Molinaro.

The county has the capacity to give 5,000 shots a day if doses are available, Molinaro said. Biden’s announcement represents “positive steps on both fronts,” allowing the county to schedule weeks out, he said. “Any increase in doses allows us broader reach,” he said. 

So far, the reach has been narrow, while the number of people eligible is broad. 

More than 7 million New York residents are eligible to receive the vaccine, including more than 70,000 in Dutchess and 30,000 in Putnam. New York State initially said it would vaccinate only the estimated 2.1 million front-line health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. But following the federal government’s lead, it expanded eligibility to first responders, people over 65 and other groups. 

That expansion raised the hopes of seniors who have largely been stymied by the short supply. 

“The hardest part for us is not vaccinating as many people as who want to be vaccinated,” said Snyder.

3 thoughts on “More Vaccines Promised

  1. Rumor has it that unless “connected,” there is a slim chance of getting the vaccination or even an appointment. Even if the distribution has been equitable it sure doesn’t feel like it.

    As a resident of Chestnut Ridge senior housing in Cold Spring, we were once again invaded by non-residents when the vaccine distribution was administrated in the basement of Building No. 1.

    I am grateful that Drug World has taken the lead in our community, but a safer, more sensible location needs to be found. I’m concerned the safety of Chestnut Ridge residents may be in jeopardy with this mass influx of non-residents. It was impos-sible to find parking in our lot. I met a woman who left her car in our lot and walked to Foodtown! Strangers were milling around, socializing in groups. Using the building’s laundry facility was out of the question. While most were wearing masks, many weren’t. [via Facebook]

  2. I’m an essential worker and it is impossible to get vaccinated in Putnam County. I live here and I’ve been trying for weeks. [via Facebook]

  3. Seniors are increasingly feeling overlooked in priority in the vaccine rollout. The Putnam County Health Department states that it is constrained in being limited to providing vaccine only to essential workers, yet the Dutchess County website announces locations in area schools and health centers that are not restricting access.

    It would be important to explain why Putnam County cannot do the same. I have noticed that there were no posts on Putnam County websites between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4. In a time of crisis, this is inexcusable. Regardless of any constraints on their ability to deliver all needed doses, County Executive MaryEllen Odell and the Department of Health would still be able to alleviate some of the distress. I recommend that they begin posting daily on their websites and provide whatever information they have about vaccine availability in drugstores or medical practices — the only vaccination locations available to local seniors.

    Currently, it is only possible to find such information by relentless tracking of area newspapers, Facebook and neighborhood blogs. The county information technology staff, or tourism, which is not too busy these days, should be able to log on to similar sites and share the info. For many seniors, accessing social media sites is not accessible, and we shouldn’t expect them to do so.

    A central source of reliable information is essential. I have noticed that other county health departments have provided such information for their residents, e.g., Dutchess, even Greene that provides a registration form online which not only eases the vaccination process, but also facilitates health department outreach when vaccine is available.

    Without similar facilitation, our seniors are being left to their own, often adequate, devices. I am sure anyone would agree that, in times of crisis, the lack of information can be as crippling as the threat itself.

    Both the county executive and Health Department and Legislature could do a better job at telling seniors how to access the available vaccine slots they report. We don’t need any more of their reporting on what they have already achieved. We want to stay alive.