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Jan

12

Hospitals Focus Vaccination Efforts on Health Care Workers, Community Partners

The three University of Vermont Health Network New York hospitals continue to focus on the vaccination of front line health care workers and community health care partners as outlined in the New York State (NYS) Vaccine Administration Plan and will not, at this time, be offering the vaccine to New Yorkers in Tier 1b of that plan: those 75 and older, correction officers, teachers and other essential workers.  

 

However, according to CVPH Vice President of Population Health and Information Services Wouter Rietsema, MD, should the supply of vaccine increase, we will move to Tier 1b. “For now, hospitals must prioritize unvaccinated health care workers from the 1A group,” he explained. Rietsema serves as coordinator for the NYS designated Northern New York Regional Vaccination Hub, supporting seven counties in their community vaccination initiatives.  

 

The state has created two resources for people seeking information on vaccine eligibility and appointments.  The “Am I Eligible App” (https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/) can help determine eligibility and find a list of providers where appointments can be made and a Vaccination Hotline, 1 (833) 697-4829 can also be used.

 

In an announcement about expanding the plan to include this new group, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo asked all New Yorkers to be patient as the supply of vaccine is limited nationally.  There are currently 4 million eligible New Yorkers in this new priority group, according to Governor Cuomo, and the state receives on average 300,000 doses each week. Those who secure an appointment to be vaccinated via the app or hotline should expect a date as far as 14-weeks in the future.

Since late December of 2020, Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, CVPH in Plattsburgh and Elizabethtown Community Hospital in Elizabethtown have been engaged in vaccinating their teams and other health care partners as directed by the state.

 

Residents and staff at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities continue to be vaccinated through a federal program, which the state is providing resources to accelerate.

 

“It’s wonderful that so many want to be vaccinated – it is an important step in putting this pandemic behind us. In the meantime, patience is required,” explained Rietsema who added, “It continues to be vital that everyone continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing, avoid gatherings, practice hand hygiene and stay home if you are ill. We know what works in slowing the spread of the disease. It’s important that we continue doing all of those things.”