North Country catching back up on over 800 vaccinations after weather delays

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(Nexstar DC photo)

WARREN COUNTY and WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Two counties had made plans around getting doses of COVID-19 vaccine last week, and both saw those preparations dashed by winter weather that complicated shipping. This week, it’s a matter of playing catch-up.

And that’s a different prospect depending on which county one is going to for their vaccine.

In Warren County, the plan last week was for 200 doses to come in. 100 of those were for essential workers, and the rest would be distributed to a private medical practice to then be distributed to people living with comorbidities.

That got complicated last week, when weather issues caused that shipment to get delayed. But this week, Warren County Spokesman Don Lehman said the county should be able to catch back up.

The wayward doses reached the county on Monday, and are expected to be joined by another 100 that were already planned to arrive this week.

Lehman said the county doesn’t start planning vaccination clinics or scheduling appointments until the doses arrive, meaning recipients weren’t told to go somewhere and then left out in the cold – literally or figuratively. Those eligible will be contacted for vaccinations, which should take place this weekend.

As for the doses going to those with comorbidities, Lehman said the county started by just contacting one primary care provider who cares for many such individuals, to let them decide who the doses should go to. More doctors and offices will receive their own shares in future shipments.

As for the cause behind the slowdown, Lehman said it simply comes down to how the coronavirus vaccine is sent to the county; from Albany to Warren County, it’s all done by USPS.

This week’s 100 doses are still expected to arrive on track, and are also intended for first responders.

More information on coronavirus vaccines in Warren County can be found on the county’s coronavirus hub website.

In Washington County, it’s still a bit more of a waiting game. The county canceled three coronavirus vaccine PODs in the last week; two over the weekend, and one set for Tuesday.

It was going to be a big order, too, especially for a county that took longer than some to be given their first doses. Roger Wickes with Washington County Public Health said the plan had been to vaccinate 600 people over the weekend, followed by another 75 on Tuesday.

What’s more, all of those vaccines were intended to be second doses. That puts the county further behind the curve on following up with those who have already gotten their first dose, meaning that next, part of their catch-up process will have to involve diverting some intended first doses to those who would otherwise be missing out on their second shots.

Even with that added challenge, Washington County has a plan to catch back up, assuming their doses come in on time. Two more vaccine PODs are scheduled for this weekend, and the county is considering adding 100 doses to each of those days, as well as scheduling an additional day this week. Right now, the hope is to add a POD on Wednesday, and keep a currently scheduled one Thursday.

But that all depends on whether the rural county gets what it needs. Wickes said they had some doses secured as on the way, awaiting confirmation.

As in Warren County, Washington County’s doses have all been allocated to certain groups of people within Phase 1B of New York’s reopening plan. Wickes didn’t know on Monday how that would break down for the doses they were awaiting.

Washington County posts daily coronavirus and vaccination information on their county website.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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