ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul gave the State Health Department the green light to authorize emergency medical technicians to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. This comes as the state anticipates a large group of people eligible for their booster shots.

“Our EMTs and paramedics are essential, and I have 90 of them, so let’s utilize them.”

Craig Apple

Sheriff Apple says he and his emergency medical services team can now properly prepare to administer booster shots, this is something his team did when the vaccine first became available. “Our EMTs even helped with the jail, helped with other congregate settings, and then all of a sudden when that executive order was terminated it was like we got handcuffed immediately and they were stopped.” 

In April, the State Legislature repealed several COVID-related executive orders by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, one of those orders allowed EMTs to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

“To be able to have them help us out and really pick up some of the slack with the PODS,” says Albany County Executive Dan McCoy. “It’s music to my ears.”

McCoy is one of many local leaders who have been pushing to keep this order. He says this will help get ahead of staffing issues. “When we were talking about repealing the previous governor’s executive orders, and everything else he put in place, we really need to look at the ones that worked,” says McCoy. “Talk to the county officials or our health departments, and this was one that was an effective tool to really get out to the community because we’re going to need help.”

Governor Hochul says 50,000 basic EMTs could be eligible for vaccination training. The required training for EMTs can be completed online or in-person. “Most of mine have already done that except for many of our new hires. Once the order was terminated, there was no sense in them doing it. But now that we see this coming down the pipeline, we’re starting to gear everybody up again,” Apple says.