Vaccine distribution remains a concern for frontline workers

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — About 2.1 million New Yorkers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the first phase of distribution, but questions of when and who will administer it still remain.

“I anticipate us being in masks for months on end. There’s roughly 19 million New Yorkers that have to get vaccinated as well as everyone else in the country,” said Albany Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Dave Newton.

Frontline workers like the Albany Fire Department have already received their first round of the vaccine. About 80 percent the department has taken the first dose.

“Our union has been proactive in working for our members and we’re trying to ensure that our members take the highest precautions at all times,” said Albany Fire Chief Joe Gregory.

But two local police departments are looking for guidance. Albany and Troy police departments wonder how they’ll dole out the vaccine following the governor’s latest mandate.

“We can have the essential workers use their own employees or their own health system provider to do their own vaccines,” Cuomo announced at his Tuesday morning press conference.

Larger departments are asked to use their own workers to administer the vaccine, if they can, to release the burden on hospitals.

“That’s going to be something that just can’t be handled by the hospitals alone. It’s going to be an all hands-on-deck approach,” said CEO and President of The United Way of the Greater Capital Region Peter Gannon.

The United Way and several other entities are joining with Albany Med to enlist volunteers to help administer the vaccine. The group is looking for volunteers with specific experience to give the vaccine.

“The scale of this public health effort is something we’ve never seen in the Capital Region before. I don’t think we’ve ever seen in the country before,” Gannon said.

For the list of requirements to be a volunteer and to sign up to be a part of the medical reserve, head to Albany Med’s website.


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