Scarce supply, other issues affect North Country COVID vaccine rollout

North Country

NORTH COUNTRY (WFFF) – The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for COVID-19 are hard to come by in the North Country – and everywhere else in New York – but that’s not the end of the challenges to the vaccine rollout. It’s also been possible for some people who aren’t eligible yet for a vaccine to get an appointment anyway.

“We run out of allocation today,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is sending New York about 250,000 coronavirus vaccine doses per week, and they’re being administered as quickly as they arrive.

“Add up all the dosages that are not in (people’s) arms in the state — it’s 28,000,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The problem is, we administer about 80,000 dosages per day, right? So, 20,000 does not get you through the day.”

The governor said the Empire State has tried to buy more doses from both Pfizer and Moderna, but it can’t. “(FDA) Emergency Authorization Use does not allow them to sell it, so they cannot sell directly to the State of New York, so the supply comes from the federal government,” he said.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh is the vaccine hub for the North Country; it’s one of nine hospitals throughout the state serving as hubs. This week, CVPH had to cancel about 160 vaccination appointments because it simply didn’t have enough doses.

This is according to a telephone conversation with hospital spokesperson Chris Blake, who added that CVPH will have to cancel 98 more appointments scheduled for next week unless more doses come in.

However, a short supply has not proven to be the only snag. Last week, more than 20,000 New Yorkers who weren’t eligible got vaccine appointments anyway, and some of those appointments were at CVPH.

Marcy Stevens, general counsel for the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, wrote at the time, “…an unpublished scheduling link was shared without authorization on social media…we referred this issue to the Inspector General.”

One of Gov. Cuomo’s top aides said it wasn’t clear if the appointment site had been hacked or if someone leaked the link prematurely. In either case, all appointments made through it have been canceled. Chris Blake said it’s unclear how many of those appointments were for CVPH.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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