Facing a limited supply of Kovid-19 vaccine doses and what they say is a frustrating system for securing appointments, some New York residents plan to travel hundreds of miles across the state to get a shot.
66-year-old nurse Maura Lavarty of New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City, said she is preparing for a road trip after foiling an appointment in a snow-covered college town near the Canadian border.
She said that she spent hours searching for a place for the locally run facilities near her in Westchester County but was unsuccessful. Then he turned to a state-run web portal, which allows any qualified New York State resident book appointments at the 13 large distribution centers run by the state government.
Jacob The KV Javits Convention Center, a state-run hub in Manhattan, was his first choice, but the only available slots were at a location in Potsdam in St. Lawrence County.
“The search was an exercise in futility, so I’m going to have a nice little getaway,” said Ms. Lavertie, who decided she would work away from vacation rentals for a few days while she got the job.
Other New York residents also said that their vaccinations were a good excuse for a mini-vacation. But most described the appointment process as panicky and said they were disappointed that the state had not allocated more numbers to the more densely populated areas.
Local officials around the state have also complained that the state was swapping precious vaccine supplements for its own hub – where anyone can sign-up for a New Yorker appointment – calling them local pharmacies, clinics or counties – Serve the residents of the area instead of funneling to the sites.
Lawyer Peter Bartfeld, 70, said he made an appointment at a hub in Plattsburgh, which he estimates is a six-hour drive from his home in Valley Stream on Long Island. He chose the spot after two weeks of failure to secure a closer spot.
“It’s absurd,” he said. “Obviously, you are a mislocation in the state. Why do people have to drive from Long Island to Plattsburgh? “
Roughly seven million New Yorkers meet the state’s current eligibility criteria, including people 65 or older, health care workers, nursing-home residents and employees, as well as essential employees, including teachers. State officials said they receive about 250,000 vaccines a week.
Gary Holmes, a spokesman for the Department of Health, said about 600,000 people have made appointments at state immunization centers, and about 75% of them New Yorkers from the same region of the state. State officials did not respond to requests for demographic data about who received an appointment or was vaccinated.
Long Islanders can use the State Hub at Jones Beach and SUNY Stony Brook, and New York City residents can use the city site at the Javits Center or the State Hub or the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, each at least once a day Can vaccinate up to 1,000 people. For almost all of last week, the only sites with available placements were in Plattsburgh and Potsdam, which are in rural areas. Officials say both sites can handle 500 appointments a day.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and health officials say vaccine doses are allocated around the state based on population, and some providers are tasked to focus on certain groups: hospitals for health care workers, including teachers required County-operated sites for workers, and people 65 or older for pharmacies.
73-year-old Nancy Bendiner booked appointments for herself and her husband at a state-run hub in Utica after a county clinic filled nine minutes near her home in Red Hook, NY. He said that his appointments are on consecutive days, so he will spend the night in Utica.
Linda Puitti, a 65-year-old painter from Dutchess County, is traveling to Binghamton. “It is a little sad that we are doing this lottery fashion. The person closest to the phone gets the award, ”she said.
The governor’s top aide, Melissa Derasa, said state officials were making sure there was equality between locals and out-of-towers. Mr Holmes said the state could consider continuing allocation if there were persistent issues.
“Our goal is to get weapons as quickly and efficiently as possible – if New Yorkers in one area aren’t booking all available appointments, and someone is willing to travel to get a shot, which is just vaccines. Shows insufficient supply. Received from the Trump administration, “he said.
Biden administration officials said last week they would increase the number of doses allocated to the states, a move that Mr. Cuomo welcomed.
Local leaders said that their vaccinations were reduced when the hub opened. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picante, a Republican whose county includes the state hub outside Utica, said the allocation for the county-installed drive-through distribution point dropped by 3,000 doses during the week of January. 5 to 500 doses for the week. On 20 January. The state site opened on 19 January.
Mr. Holmes would not say how many vaccine doses are being directed to state centers, but said the counties’ allocations were reduced because distribution networks and eligible populations that were focused on local health departments had changed.
Debra Block, 68, said she was concerned about the condition of the road, but still plans to drive from Dutchess County to Potsdam for a vaccine. She struggled with the ethics of getting an appointment in another part of the state, but said she felt comfortable doing so because people who lived close had the same ability to sign up.
Spreading his journey north, Mr Barthelfeld learned on Thursday that he was able to get a last-minute appointment for the State Hub in Queens. The process was efficient and everyone was pleasant, he said.
“Once you get that appointment, it’s gold,” he said.
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