Elsewhere on this page, Dr. Charles Hyman, Bassett Hospital’s infectious disease specialist, says, “It’s time for hope.”
Yes, indeed, all the signs are good.
Earlier this week, Heidi Bond, Otsego County public health director, said, “I think it will open up pretty quickly with Johnson & Johnson,” a reference to the new one-shot vaccine approved over the weekend.
It’s even encouraging to read the daily reports in the doom-and-gloom national newspapers.
Monday, March 1, the Washington Post told us the seven-day average of “cases reported” dropped from 248,128 to 68,040.
As of that day, WAPO said 50 million Americans had been vaccinated, about the same number of us over 65.
Now, that’s progress.
After the state website kept complaining the whole State of New York had only been receiving 400,000 vaccines a week for its 16 million eligible citizens, Monday, March 1, it posted:
“New York is expected to receive approximately 164,800 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week, pending final FDA authorization.”
That, plus 400,000 a week we’re already getting: It would still take 80 weeks to serve New York’s eligible citizens, but it’s accelerating.
The good news is if New York State gets the vaccine, New York State can administer it.
Someone who experienced the Bassett vaccine clinic at the Clark Sports Center, then the one at SUNY Polytechnic in Utica reports both were efficient and, considering, relatively pleasant.
At both, those receiving vaccines filled out the questionnaires we’ve become familiar with, registered, got the shot, sat for 15 minutes in case of a negative reaction, and were out the door in no time.
Everyone was pleasant, even cheerful.
The Utica site – the school’s Wildcat Field House – was roomier, of course. It was staffed by a National Guard unit from Harlem, deployed there until September. (The snow will melt in May, one private was assured.) And the interactions were pleasant and professional.
From Cooperstown, the Stone House Road route, to Route 8, then Route 12, taking the exit after you see a Lowe’s on the right, can actually be done in about an hour, without pushing it too much.
Bassett administered 300 shots in six hours last Saturday at the Clark; 1,000 shots were administered the day our friend visited Utica. But it was done smoothly; it was clear there’s plenty of person-power to handle more.
Bond reported earlier that when the state required local health departments to conduct countywide vaccination exercises after SARS, her team and volunteers found they could vaccinate all of Otsego County in four days.
Now, when you call the various hotlines, all of a sudden you’re getting an answer – one couple got shots at Kinney’s the next day; another, at a CVS near Albany.
Yes, the pharmacies, getting supplies directly from the federal government for the past week, are starting to come online, as Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig and county board Chairman David Bliss said they would.
So Google CVS, Kinney Drugs, Walgreens and Rite Aid when you get up each morning. Or make a list of their hotline numbers and simply call them each morning sequentially.
Google “am I eligible” to find out availability at New York State’s mega sites, and register.
The point is, help, if not here, is nigh. Let’s get our shots.