COVID-19 Vaccine Due; Drugstores Prepare

COVID-19 Vaccine Due;

Drugstores Prepare

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

COOPERSTOWN – When the COVID-19 vaccine is available, Otsego County will be ready.

“Before the pharmacies could give the flu shot, we used to do a lot of the vaccinations,” said Heidi Bond, county public health director. “We are well aware of what needs to be done when we go into communities that may not have a lot of options for vaccinations.”

With the announcement that Pfizer, whose vaccine reportedly has a 90-percent rate of effectiveness in preventing COVID-19, is applying for “Emergency Use” by the Food & Drug Administration, Bond hopes healthcare workers and first responders could start receiving it as soon as mid-December.

“Front-line workers will be prioritized,” said Bond. “That includes healthcare workers and EMTs.”

And Pfizer isn’t the only trial that’s showing success.

Moderna’s vaccine was reported to have 95-percent efficiency, according to NPR, and the AP reported that the AstraZeneca vaccine,had also shown 90-percent efficiency and, unlike the other two, only required one shot.

In addition to the county Health Department, CVS pharmacies in Cooperstown and Sidney, and Kinney Drugs in Richfield Springs have stepped forward to offer their services in administering the vaccine.

“We’re excited to be part of the community effort to vaccinate against COVID,” said Autumn Koniowka,
pharmacy manager, Cooperstown CVS. “As soon as there is more information made available publically, we’ll start letting people know about the process.”

“When vaccines are authorized and made available to the general public, Kinney pharmacists will be able to administer them following federal vaccine prioritization guidelines,” said Rebecca Bubel, R.Ph. Kinney Drugs president, in a statement. “As we have since 1903, our employee-owners remain 100-percent committed to supporting our communities on the front lines. By working together, we can help bring this pandemic under control.”

Appointments would be scheduled in a similar fashion to their current program, with appointments made online or by calling the pharmacy.

In Oneonta, Walgreens, which has three locations in the city and town, has not indicated whether or not they will offer the vaccine, although they do offer flu and shingles vaccines.

Community partners are critical, said Bond, because otherwise, the Health Department staff could be
“a challenge.”

“We may find ourselves trying to prioritize between contact tracing and vaccinations,” she said.

But with the right resources, including the Health Depart-ment staff, supplemented by volunteers and nursing students, the whole county population – all 59,493 of us – could be vaccinated in three to five days.

The vaccine will be free, although providers may bill a patient’s insurance. Those without insurance will be covered by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund, according to the Center for Disease Control.

But it could still be “3-4 months,” warns Bond, before the general population can line up to get their shot, and much of that depends on how much of the vaccine is sent to the county at a time.

“The earliest I see it available to the general population is March or April,” she said.

5 thoughts on “COVID-19 Vaccine Due; Drugstores Prepare

  1. Anthony macaluso

    I am 78 have health issues and, trying to get coronavirus vaccine, was told by Walmart pharmacy might be able in Spring. Meantime I’m told I need car inspected, why would I allow stranger to get in my vehicle? And jeopardize my health? I have to use vehicle to pickup groceries, at outside pickup service. Something is wrong with getting vaccine to older people.

  2. Anonymous

    Come on public health people, get a move on. I hear the vaccine is out there waiting to be administered but I can’t get any reliable information about who, how, when and where. Public Health Depts have done plenty of bragging about how they are ready so let’s see some results. We seniors have been at home stuck inside bored and scared for 10 months. When I heard the vaccine was approved I thought saw light at the end of my 270 day long dark tunnel. Suddenly I’m hearing nothing. Now I’m wondering who turned out the light and why.

  3. Anonymous

    Bassett has already done their employees and has surplus vaccine doses. Open it up to phase 2 already! One in 60 county residents already has or had the virus. Let’s go! We are all waiting as patiently as we can. They’ve had plenty of time for planning the rollout, so what’s the delay?

  4. Mary

    I am in 1b, essential worker, and can’t get a shot yet. No appts anywhere and the students are coming back to school. Frustrating!

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