By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
As of Monday, Jan. 11, the state gave the go-ahead to expand vaccine appointments to Phase 1b populations – seniors, first responders, corrections officers, teachers and other school staff; in-person college instructors, childcare workers, public facing grocery store workers, transit workers and individuals living and working in homeless shelters.
Also Monday, people 65 and older were folded into Phase 1b; previously, it has been 75 and older.
Phase 1a was focused on healthcare workers. The 1b situation is “fluid,” Kelly Rudd, Bassett Healthcare Network director of pharmaceutical services, said of the many moving parts of the operation.
The implementation of phases ultimately boils down to the prioritization of limited supplies; plus, state and federal guidelines continue to evolve.
“This is an extremely complex national endeavor we are navigating,” said Bassett President/CEO Tommy Ibrahim.
Organizations that will administer the inoculation – some drug stores, for instance – can submit requests for supplies; however, across the country, demands continue to trend higher than the stockpile – lending to the delay in vaccinating at a faster pace on a larger scale particularly in rural communities.
That said, the county Department of Health and other local providers have worked to set up clinics, expanding their vaccinations to include eligible phase 1b individuals.
According to the state website, “People age 65 and over (along with other Phase 1b individuals) will primarily be vaccinated at pharmacies and other sites that are part of the ‘retail network,’” by “appointment only.”
“The COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline is open 7 a.m.-10 p.m., 7 days a week, for scheduling vaccination appointments for eligible New Yorkers: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX 833-697-4829,” according to the website.
Community members are asked to check am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ concerning their eligibility to receive the vaccine in addition to a list of various local clinics and pharmacies to inquire about making an appointment.
Bassett patients are encouraged to setup/use their MyBassett for updates on eligibility and other information as it becomes available to the public in real time.