A COVID-19 vaccination update from Commissioner of Public Safety Robin Dalton with links to appointment sites & availability information >
**COVID-19 VACCINATION UPDATE**
↳ Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is extremely challenging right now, due to the limited supply to NY State, as well as accessibility and eligibility constraints. Per an update on eligibility and locations from Saratoga County Public Health Services (SCPHS), as of last week, SCPHS is required by New York State to only vaccinate people in the following groups:
• First Responders or Support Staff for First Responder Agencies
• Police and Investigations, Corrections
• In-person college faculty and instructors
• Public facing grocery store workers
• PreK-12 Schools staff & faculty
• Public Transit Employees
Translation: The county is NO longer able to vaccinate individuals who are only eligible due to age (65+). So all of the seniors who desperately want and need vaccinations, many of whom have already lost so much to this virus, have virtually nowhere locally to go for a vaccination. This was not a choice made by any of your local officials or county officials, this was a directive from the State of New York. The state receives a weekly allotment of vaccines from the federal government that they then distribute through the state - to continue to receive vaccines, SCPHS must stay compliant with the laws of the state. Right now, the County is not getting enough vaccines to even open up another site other than the public health building in Ballston Spa for appointments, like the City Center.
↳ So where can those 65 years and older go to get a vaccine?
• NY State has contracted with private pharmacies to vaccinate anyone over the age of 65. Seniors can also go to a state run vaccination site.
• Click below to check independent pharmacy & drug store chains for availability (**as of 1/21/21 only Price Chopper had appointments set up in Clifton Park, Latham and Schenectady, they are long booked, as are most other drug store chain options at present)
↳ The problem? In essence, there are no pharmacies locally with availability and the closest state vaccination site with available appointments is in Plattsburgh (which as of today, has appointments starting in mid-March). Occasionally an appointment comes up in Utica or Albany if you refresh the websites with frequency. But traveling that distance (twice) to get your vaccinations is not possible for many Saratogians.
↳ SCPHS, your County Supervisors
Supervisor Tara N. Gaston
& Supervisor Matthew Veitch & I are acutely aware that the majority of those who want and need a vaccine right now cannot get one. The county will continue to lobby for more vaccines and accessibility and recently took the additional following steps:
• Setting up a #SaratogaCounty
hotline for information that will allow SCPHS personnel to do more frontline work
• COVID-19 dashboard improvements that will provide clearer information to the public and better analysis for SCPHS
• Process changes to make obtaining appointments easier and sending information direct to eligible members of the public
• Multiple layers of vaccination plans to support every option from individual doses delivered to home-bound individuals to a 24/7 mass vaccination location
↳ MY ADVICE:
to get an appointment at a state run site like SUNY Albany, Utica or Plattsburgh, your best bet is to block off some time, go the NY State Eligibility site (https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov
) and keep hitting the refresh button on the 'locate providers' page.
When an appointment is cancelled, eventually it shows back up in the results as available, so keep refreshing to see if a date and time slot pops up and if it does, grab it fast. I found two early February appointments in Utica like this yesterday, even though it currently says no appointments available. Check the comments for a picture of the 'locate providers' page and the refresh button..
↳ WILL AVAILABILITY & ACCESSIBILITY EVER CHANGE?
• It must. And I believe it will, as the new administration began yesterday and President Biden launches his COVID-19 plan which as it pertains to vaccines is: Open up vaccine eligibility to more people; create more vaccination sites; increase vaccine supply; hire a vaccination workforce; and launch a large-scale public education campaign. The President has articulated a goal of getting 100 million vaccines administered in his first 100 days in office.
• Additional help could come from the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is in its third phase of trials, and is a single dose shot. Manufacturing has already begun and could be on track for a March/April delivery if approvals are met.
• Ultimately, everyone who wants a vaccine will get one. But even if all goes well, we are looking at months, not weeks, to get them in state, to us and administered.
~Commissioner of Public Safety, Robin Dalton | Email: Robin.Dalton@saratoga-springs.org | (518) 587-3550
↳FOR COVID UPDATES AND RESOURCES, CLICK HERE to follow the Public Safety Department's Facebook page