Updated January 18, 2021
ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — More than seven million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The initial rollout has been slow, with long wait times for an appointment because of an inadequate amount of vaccine.
The state’s eligibility website said there are no appointments available through April 16 at the state’s only vaccination center in the Capital District, the University at Albany. Although the state has said to check with county’s for further vaccine distribution, many of the county websites make no mention of vaccine availability.
Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, and Washington Counties are part of the Capital Region Vaccine Network through Albany Medical Center. Its website tells residents appointments must be made through the New York State website or by phone.
“We understand that many eligible people are finding it difficult to schedule an appointment at this time. We ask for your patience and persistence, and we are confident that the process will become easier as the state receives more vaccine in the coming weeks,” Capital Region Vaccine Network said.
Fulton, Montgomery, and Schoharie counties are part of the Mohawk Region Vaccine Network.
“MVHS, along with other area hospitals, has used its current allotment of vaccines. We know that our community members are eagerly awaiting appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination. It is difficult to schedule appointments without knowing when vaccines will arrive and we’re asking our community members to be patient with the new and evolving vaccination process,” it said on their website.
Below is a breakdown of vaccine information from county websites and officials.
As part of the Capital Region Vaccine Network, Albany County said residents can either visit their website or call 211 for information. There is currently no further information on when the Capital Region Vaccine Network will have vaccine available.
“As the rollout of the vaccine continues with new distribution guidance from the state over the weekend, nothing is a substitute for the need to continue to wear a mask, to avoid private gatherings, and to stay home as much as possible in order to stop the spread of the virus. This is especially true as we get more reports of more contagious strains of the virus here in the Capital Region and around the world,” County Executive Dan McCoy said in a county update on Monday, January 18.
“Due to the very limited small supply of vaccine provided by the state, it may take a substantial amount of time (weeks) before we can contact you to arrange the vaccination. If you have an opportunity to get the vaccine, or a pharmacy contacts you to provide the vaccine to you, we recommend you DO IT. Do not feel that you must wait for the county Department of Health to contact you,” the county said on its website.
Columbia County Department of Health Director, Jack Mabb, said on January 18 the county received 400 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and is evaluating how to distribute it.
Columbia county has set up a vaccine hotline for residents to call Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (518) 697-5560. The county also said on its website that residents can call the New York State call center at (833) NYS-4-VAX or register through the state’s website.
On its website Essex County said eventually information for COVID-19 vaccine clinics will be posted at a later date.
“We understand that people want information on when they can receive the vaccine. Fulton County is part of the Mohawk Valley Regional network and is not scheduling public appointments for vaccine at this time. The supply for vaccine is not as high as the demand is at this time. The process to vaccinate all individuals will take months…Please know that Fulton County Public Health is listed, but is not scheduling appointments at this time,” Fulton County said on its website.
The county also said on its website that residents can call the New York State call center at (833) NYS-4-VAX.
The Greene County Public Health Department said they did not have enough vaccine to vaccinate residents in group 1a of the states’ plan and must complete that group before being able to vaccinate group 1b, on it’s Facebook page.
“The Greene County Public Health Department and Emergency Operations Center is prepared to receive and distribute the mRNA vaccines to combat SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine will be distributed to includes high-risk health care workers, nursing home residents, and staff first,” it said on the Greene County website.
The county said that residents should not call the county to schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine but instead visit the New York State website to check eligibility and register to be contacted.
Although it said it does not have access to doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Montgomery County announced the creation of a waitlist hotline on January 14, where residents can sign up to receive it once available. The waitlist hotline phone number is 518-853-8247.
“We have received a number of calls from residents anxiously anticipating receiving the vaccine and we know how confusing this process has been for the public and we wanted to mitigate that as much as possible by having one specific number they can contact. From the people we have spoken to so far, just having their name on a vaccine waitlist provides them some sense of relief during this extremely stressful time,” said County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort.
Rensselaer County Health and Human Services said it currently does not have any doses of COVID-19 vaccine and said it would probably be weeks before those eligible would be able to get an appointment on its Facebook page on January 12.
The county also said residents can call the New York State call center at (833) NYS-4-VAX to schedule an appointment.
No information regarding Saratoga County’s vaccine distribution can be found on its website but the county does link to the New York State website where people can check their eligibility.
“Saratoga County Public Health Services (SCPHS) will continue to post information for how to register for vaccination clinics on our website. SCPHS will continue to utilize NYSDOH’s CDMS system for registration, which is separate from the “Am I Eligible” website. Clinics are held whenever vaccine is available,” a spokesperson for the county said January 15.
A mass vaccination site has been planned for the Saratoga Springs City Center once more vaccine becomes available for widespread distribution. The county also said residents can call the New York State call center at (833) NYS-4-VAX to schedule an appointment.
Schenectady County said they are currently providing vaccinations to those in group 1a. Residents should utilize the state’s website to determine eligibility but can register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on the county’s website. The county will contact people regarding an appointment as the vaccine becomes available, it said on the Schenectady County website.
The county announced on January 18 that it is partnering with SUNY Schenectady to distribute vaccine beginning January 25.
“Most hospitals, health centers, and pharmacies in the region are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals. However, because vaccine supplies are limited, appointment availability is likely to change frequently. Vaccine supplies will increase over time and are expected to be more widely available in the coming months,” the county said on its website.
“Unfortunately, although we requested vaccine, there were no doses at all allocated for the county this week (that includes the hospital, the health department, and pharmacies). Last week we only received half of what we requested but were able to procure a small additional amount from another facility. We are putting in an even larger order with the state for next week. When we have vaccine available, we will begin scheduling people,” the Schoharie County Department of Health said on its Facebook page on January 13.
The county said residents can check the state website to determine their eligibility or call the New York State Vaccination Hotline, (833) NYS-4-VAX.
Warren County held a vaccination clinic Monday, January 18. The clinic had been rescheduled from earlier in the month due to limited vaccine supply, they said.
“Warren County is working with New York State to expand local vaccination offerings, and additional public clinics will be scheduled when more vaccine becomes available. Those 65 and over can consult with pharmacies in Warren County that will be administering vaccine for these populations. Please be advised that the pharmacies do not have large vaccine supplies either, and have been overwhelmed with demand,” the county said.
The county has also created an information phone line, (518) 761-6200, for residents looking for vaccine updates.
“Our Public Health team currently has no vaccine for distribution and is awaiting vaccine supply. Please know, we understand the growing frustration from many in all of our communities with the vaccine distribution system (including the reports of accessibility difficulties to the state’s web sign-up and vaccination hotline). We encourage everyone to stay up to date, informed, and BE PATIENT as we all work through these challenges together,” Washington County said in a COVID-19 update on January 17.
“Information is forthcoming and changing quickly from the state, all deployments/distribution of vaccine are dependent on the current supply of vaccine being available. Deployment of the limited vaccine available is being coordinated at the state level for the regional vaccination HUB areas,” said the county.