Having the state run the vaccine distribution is irritating native well being officers.
In the course of the Chautauqua County Well being Board assembly, Christine Schuyler, county public well being director and social providers commissioner, stated the state has restrictions on who they’ll present a vaccine to.
“Native well being departments throughout the state now can solely vaccinate important employees in Section 1b,” she stated.
The opposite authorised vaccine suppliers embrace hospitals, pressing care facilities, federally certified well being facilities and pharmacies. Hospitals and the well being facilities are to concentrate on vaccinating the Section 1a inhabitants (well being care employees), though they’ve some flexibility. Pharmacies are solely permitted to vaccinate these 65 and older.
“As you possibly can think about, as a neighborhood well being division, we actually really feel we ought to be given the identical flexibility to vaccinate anyone who’s eligible, not solely having to concentrate on that Section 1b important employee inhabitants,” Schuyler stated. “Having stated that, we actually don’t have sufficient vaccine to vaccinate a big portion of any of those populations.”
Thursday, the county well being division vaccinated about 300 individuals in Dunkirk and on Friday the well being division was scheduled to vaccinate round 700 individuals in Jamestown, which can expend all of the vaccine the county has.
Schuyler stated they don’t settle for walk-ins at any clinics; individuals should register forward of time. Additionally they preserve individuals on stand ought to they’ve any cancellations.
She stated they work laborious at solely vaccinating eligible residents.
“This can be a authorized requirement as a result of we did, as a county, signal an MOU — a Memorandum Of Understanding — with the state, as did each vaccine supplier, that we are going to solely vaccinate those that the state tells us to vaccinate because the precedence populations. In the event you vaccinate outdoors of that, then you may be topic to fines, and also you additionally may very well be faraway from the vaccine supplier community,” Schuyler stated.
Schuyler stated when the county Well being Division will get vaccine, they put up a hyperlink on their web site telling residents to go to the state’s scheduling system the place they’ll register. Nonetheless, they often replenish extraordinarily shortly.
One other frustration Schuyler has is different suppliers don’t all the time let the county know after they have vaccine and are providing clinics.
“We don’t know when the pharmacies are providing vaccination at the moment, or another suppliers, except they inform us,” she stated. “I do know it’s very complicated, it’s very irritating. We’re getting hundreds of cellphone calls and emails. Sadly, there may be simply not sufficient vaccine to go round.”
Dr. Robert Berke, who serves because the county doctor, was crucial of the state placing the vaccine plan collectively as an alternative of the native well being departments.
“We have now an absolute mess that has been created,” he stated. “We have now the plan. We have now the power to do it and we’ve been omitted of it. This is unnecessary. The entire thing is absolute craziness.”
Burke famous that for a number of years the county Well being Division has had a plan in place to take care of a communicable illness outbreak however the state has chosen to not use native well being departments to coordinate vaccine distribution.
“That is so disorganized. Why complicate a quite simple course of? You might have an company that may ship as many vaccines as you possibly can in someday, centralize every thing, however as an alternative you’ve bought this mess of internet sites, individuals 75 and 80 who can’t entry them, people who find themselves calling, calling, calling, attempting to get in, when in reality, it may very well be so easy,” he stated.
By comparability, Schuyler famous that West Virginia has already vaccinated 98% of their eligible inhabitants with the primary dose.
“They utilized a system that folks had been used to counting on, and that was the native well being departments after which pharmacies,” she stated. “They eradicated a lot the paperwork that sadly we’re caught with in New York state.”
Though they’re pissed off, Schuyler stated they are going to proceed to work as greatest as they’ll to get Chautauqua County residents vaccinated.
“I’m very happy with my crew for arising with options, doing the perfect they’ll, attempting to be as ready as we are able to, as a result of if the vaccine does develop into extensively obtainable, we have to be able to hit the street as quickly as we’re in a position to take action,” she stated.