ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the next step in vaccinating New York. New York State is partnering with counties across the state to offer resources and staffing to bolster in-home vaccination efforts.
Schenectady County’s Supervising Public Health Nurse, Claire Proffitt, said that in-home vaccinations in Schenectady started slow because efforts were focused on the large-scale vaccination PODs—Points of Distribution.
But with their focus shifting away from mass vaccinations sites, they are now expanding what makes someone eligible for in-home vaccinations.
Originally, “homebound” residents like the disabled or elderly were their main focus, but now everyone from those struggling with childcare to anxiety can qualify.
“Really, a lot of people that don’t have transportation. Or they are on the fence about it, and they don’t want to jump through hoops to get the vaccine, but they’re are willing to get it if we come to them,” Proffitt said.
The goal is to remove any barriers for someone who hasn’t gotten the shot yet. One of those hurdles for older was having to navigate online sign-ups. New York state provides a website with a list of phone numbers for each county. All you have to do is call to set up an in-home vaccination appointment.
“Anyone in Warren County who’s looking for vaccination and is homebound or not, just call our public health number,” Don Lehman, Warren County Director of Public Affairs, said.
Currently, Schenectady and Warren Counties will vaccinate anyone at home who requests it. And, it turns out, those efforts are taking a toll on volunteers.
“A lot of our vaccination people are retired nurses and doctors who have kind of been going. It’s been a long slog,” Lehman said.
The state reached out to counties across New York last week and offered more resources and staffing to expand in-home vaccine efforts.
“So, the resources are greatly appreciated and will be used,” Lehman said.
Schenectady agreed and could use help with staffing as well. But what’s the next step in the state’s vaccine effort?
“I think the last push will be children when they become eligible for the vaccine. But we’re definitely in the home stretch,” Proffitt said.
According to ABC, the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for children ages 5 to 11 as soon as September 2021.