NYS pushing for senior vaccinations

Robin Caudell, The Press-Republican, Plattsburgh, N.Y.
·6 min read

Mar. 3—PLATTSBURGH — Got registered? Got vaccine?

If the answer is no, and you are 65 and older or 60 and over with co-morbidities, help is a phone call away.

The Clinton County Office for the Aging is working with New York state and Kinney Drugs to get a POD (point of distribution) in Plattsburgh at Clinton Community College for individuals ages 65+.

Though no exact date is set, the expectation is the POD will be operational in two to three weeks.

RAPID CHANGES

A minimum number of 200 people are needed to register and can register by calling the Clinton County Office for the Aging at 518-565-4620.

"If someone needs assistance booking those appointments, we are encouraging them to call our office," Darleen Collins, director of the Clinton County Office for the Aging, said.

"At this point, we have a variety of locations that have available appointments for the 65-plus population to get the COVID-19 vaccine. We are encouraging people to do so, and we are looking for additional people who may need assistance booking those appointments."

'VULNERABLE POPULATIONS'

New York State is pushing for the vaccination of the 65-plus population.

"Obviously, they are one of our more vulnerable populations," Molly Flynn, senior public health educator at the Clinton County Health Department, said.

"Anyone 65 and older are eligible for vaccination. In New York state, there is a vaccination site that is state run on the base that accepts people over 65. "Pharmacies are allowed to vaccinate over 65. Hudson Headwaters has been vaccinating the over 65 population."

As of Feb. 21, 19,300 total vaccines were received in Clinton County, 13,457 first doses administered; and 5,843 second doses administered.

"So our total eligible population right now, that would be our 16-plus population because that's all that the vaccine is approved for, out of that total eligible population, we have a vaccination rate of 20 percent for first dose and 9 percent for second dose, but again that's not just 65-plus that's all Clinton County residents," Flynn said.

The Clinton County Office for the Aging has received consistent calls from people needing assistance.

'We just want to keep encouraging people to do so," Collins said.

"The higher the vaccination numbers, the better it is for the entire community. So we want to encourage everybody eligible to get vaccinated, and we are here help if we can be of help to people."

PHARMACY OPTION

Seniors can navigate the NYS vaccine website (SEE BOX) to book appointments at State vaccination sites such as 213 Connecticut Rd. in Plattsburgh.

"Each of the pharmacies have their own link," Collins said.

"So Hannaford has appointments, and you can book through the Hannaford website. "Kinney's, when they have appointments available, people can book through the Kinney's site. Walgreens is the same way. So each one of these entities that is offering vaccines, have their own links to do so.

"The pharmacies, at these point, are vaccinating the 65 and older population and who has appointments available can change rapidly."

ESSEX COUNTY

The same push is happening in Essex and Franklin counties.

"We are recommending that anybody who is 65 years of age and older or those who are 60 and older with one of the underlying health conditions as defined by the Department of Health to give our office a call if they are struggling to get registered for a COVID-19 vaccine," Krissy Leerkes, director of the Essex County Office for the Aging, said.

"Upon those individuals calling us, we will assess their ability or willingness to travel and then we would assist them with registering. If there's appointments available, we will assist them with registering in the location of their choice.

"If they are unable to travel and want to stay in a more local area to their residence, we would maintain them on our list and as appointments become available in there area, we would call them and get them registered."

Leerkes estimates her office has registered more than 800 people.

"At the beginning, we did not keep track," she said.

"These are not necessarily specialized links that are given to us. So we are going on the 'Am I Eligible? website like everybody else.

"We are fighting for the appointments against everybody else. It's just literally a sprint to get them done. I wish we would have kept track, but it was more important to get them registered than the data."

Individuals that are experiencing a difficult time with registering for a vaccine or have been on a wait list for the vaccine, are strongly encouraged to contact the Essex County Office for the Aging at 518-873-3695 for assistance.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

In Franklin County, registration is going great.

"We are registering and assisting a lot of people, as I'm sure the other counties are saying," Michelle Breen, director of the Franklin County Office for the Aging, said.

"Many don't have access to the internet, so it's extremely difficult. We actually had a waiting list right at the very beginning before the vaccines started arriving.

"We kept a waiting list going so once the vaccine started arriving we would return people's calls and help assist them."

The wait list has been super helpful.

"We get the short notice of a vaccine arriving, so the staff here immediately just goes through the list and we start reaching out and contacting people and we register them right over the phone," Breen said.

Approximately 500 people have been registered in Franklin County 65 and older and those 65 and under with co-morbidities.

"We're starting a waiting list for those homebound that will need assistance getting the vaccine as well," Breen said.

"So we will have a list going for that. If anybody needs any assistance getting registered or getting vaccinated, they can call 518-481-1526."

Email Robin Caudell:

rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

Twitter:@RobinCaudell

LIST OF COMORBIDITIES

Adults of any age with the following conditions due to increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death

from the virus that causes COVID-19 are eligible for the vaccine:

Individuals who have one of these conditions will need to verify their eligibility when registering for their vaccination.

A Certificate of Eligibility is completed with each registration; as part of this, residents will certify their membership in a priority vaccine group.

A doctor's letter is not necessary.

Persons who have any physical mobility or other needs, call to arrange for accommodations at 518-565-4840.

To register for a vaccine, please visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/, call 1-833-NYS-4- VAX, or contact your local pharmacy.

Source: Clinton County Health Department