Update: New York has just opened vaccinations to all residents 65 years and older.
Syracuse, NY – As the second phase of New York’s Covid-19 vaccine program rolled out Monday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon had a word for the public:
“Patience,” McMahon said. “We all need to be very patient.”
On Monday, 3.2 million New Yorkers were eligible for the vaccines because of their age or occupation – in addition to nearly 2 million who were eligible last month. The state opened a new website to make deals and announced that the New York State Fairgrounds would be one of three major vaccination field sites. Kinney Drugs opened its stores for vaccine appointments for people 75 and older.
Tivoli and the county’s War Memorial injection sites also have phone lines for those who cannot or will not sign up online.
However, around the state and in Onondaga County, there are far fewer doses of vaccine available than there are arms to inject them.
“There are now over 100,000 people eligible for a shot (in the county) and we will get 3,600 doses by next week,” McMahon said. “As supply increases, we come to all.”
McMahon said the state fair would have twice as many doses as the county. Adding the shots given at nursing homes under a separate federal program, McMahon said about 15,000 doses a week were administered in the county. That number could be 25,000 if the supply was there, he said.
At that rate, it would take until late summer to vaccinate all of Onondaga County’s approximately 460,000 residents.
Monday’s extended rollout came with some flaws. College professors could not sign up in the morning because their category had not been added to the drop-down list. Syracuse.com readers said they received error messages on the state enrollment website. And in the afternoon, it was hard to find appointments. Kinney, the first pharmacy to offer shots to 75 and older, had filled all 7,500 slots throughout the mid-afternoon.
A spokesman for Kinney said the pharmacy will open appointments in February once it is assured of getting enough vaccine.
Many people who signed up early had no problems. Patty Nesci quickly got appointments for her mother, aunt and uncle for Friday at the state amusement park. However, it was good that she got there early.
“When I came in, there were lots of appointments available,” she said, “and when I got to the third, they were almost all gone.”
Here’s what you need to know if you’re trying to get a vaccine now for yourself or a family member.
Who is eligible?: Most medical workers were able to get vaccines before last week. Today, the state added all over 75 and a range of professional categories, including teachers and day care workers, police and firefighters, and grocery workers. Here is the full list of who can get a vaccine.
Sign up online: While Kinney’s spots are all full, there were still some slots late Monday in New York State for the amusement park and on the Onondaga County website for the War Memorial in Syracuse.
Sign up by phone. You can also use the phone to make appointments, but be aware that holding times can be long. The state set up a hotline Monday afternoon at 833-697-4829. As of this morning, the recording said “we are temporarily unable to answer your call.”
It happens when at least 57,000 people call in an hour, tweeted Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Government Andrew Cuomo. Azzopardi said the state had 800 people responding to this line, and more are being added this week.
There is a separate number to order an appointment at the fair: 888-364-3065. This line took calls this morning, but it is not clear how long the wait will be.
In Onondaga County, you can just call 211. McMahon said the county would allocate a certain number of vaccines to these calls, but did not say how many.
Where can I get the Covid vaccine in NY? Search for locations, appointment, eligibility information
See a detailed list of who is now eligible for Covid vaccine in NY
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