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.