PENN YAN — The events of Monday morning were still fresh in Deb Minor’s mind when she gave the Yates County Legislature a COVID-19 update in the afternoon, including the status of vaccinations.
“It was a very busy morning. As soon as people learned we were in Phase 1B of the vaccinations, they started contacting us,” said Minor, the county’s director of public health. “We have been inundated with phone calls, emails and people even coming to our office wanting a vaccine.”
They are all getting the same, simple answer.
“We have no vaccine here,” she said.
Minor, who is on a Finger Lakes region vaccine task force, said the county is still giving vaccines to those under Phase 1A of the process. That includes health care workers, nursing home staff and residents, emergency medical services personnel and more.
Phase 1B includes the general population age 75 and over, as well as police officers, firefighters, educators, and others.
Minor said that phase could take up to three months or more.
“The governor said today it is going to take weeks, perhaps 14 weeks,” she said.
The state has set up a website (am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov) for people to see when they are eligible for the vaccine. Most of the vaccines for the 75-and-over population will be given by their health care providers and/or area pharmacies, although Minor doesn’t believe those organizations have vaccines from the state yet.
“People should not be calling those places,” she said.
Minor said her department recently got a shipment of 100 doses but used them all for Phase 1A recipients. People can also see yatescounty.org/535/COVID-19 for more information, including clinics.
Minor added that the state recently scheduled a clinic in Broome County and she expects one to be done in Monroe County. However, she had no information on if the general public could get a vaccine at those locations.
“This has certainly been challenging, as these sites could be 100 miles away,” she said. “I would ask the public to be patient. The vaccine is arriving, but it is getting here slowly and we have no control over when that is. I will say the vaccine is safe and what we need to get through this pandemic.”