County officials highlight issues with vaccine distribution

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Beginning Tuesday, local health departments started receiving COVID-19 vaccines, and county leaders from across the state of New York are outlining the challenges they’ve seen in general with the rollout so far.

“There’s vaccinations still sitting on the shelf. We need to get them out, and we’re not trying to criticize anybody, we’re just trying to get cooperation to let us do what we’ve been tasked with doing on the ground level in our counties,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus. 

Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that statewide 3,762 sites have been identified for vaccine distribution, but currently, only 636 sites have been activated.

“They are distributing vaccines to the healthcare workers along with the hospitals. So healthcare workers can either go to the hospitals… or they can go to 600 sites that are across the state,” said the Governor.

He said, as of Tuesday, 900,000 vaccines have been distributed for 2.1 million healthcare workers. Monday, he said that hospitals that do not distribute their doses by the end of the week could get fined. 

Meanwhile, local officials say more communication and partnership with localities is key to building out the infrastructure to get things done quicker.

“There are enhancements that need to be made, otherwise, we will have missed this opportunity of great hope, and we will be regretting that we didn’t engage more aggressively as early as possible,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

“If we don’t have better data sharing and coordination with not only the hospitals administering the vaccine, but with the state, it’s just not going to work. We received our first 400 doses today. We had scheduled to have those out the door and done by Friday, but now we have to go back to the scheduler because we know that one of our local hospitals has already vaccinated some of these folks,” said Chemung County Executive Chris Moss.

An aide to the Governor said the state is working on a public dashboard for vaccine data. He also said the goal is to have all nursing home residents receive their first dose of the vaccine within the next two weeks. 

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