North country hospitals vaccinate highest percentage of healthcare workers in the state

WWNY North country hospitals vaccinate highest percentage of healthcare workers in the state

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A warning from Governor Cuomo has had some north country hospitals stepping up their vaccination game. But, there’s still more work to do. We check on where some north country hospitals stand and what’s next.

Samaritan Medical Center spent the past two days vaccinating more than 400 high-risk healthcare workers, administering 100 percent of its allotted vaccine.

“Earlier this week we were at 89 percent and it does not obviously surprise us that we got to 100 percent,” said Leslie DiStefano, Samaritan spokesperson.

This comes after Governor Cuomo warned hospitals across the state that if they didn’t use up what they were given, they’ll lose the doses or potentially get fined by the state.

Jefferson County Legislature Chairman Scott Gray says Samaritan’s success may be an indication of how much vaccine the county is allotted in the future.

“You can see where we have to go, and 1A has to be done, so we don’t want to lose that vaccination because it also effects our future allottments,” he said.

And we’ll need those future does. According to Gray, there are 14,000 people in Jefferson County who are prioritized for the vaccine in Phase 1A.

But between all of the hospitals in Jefferson County, the county has received fewer than 3,000 doses.

“It’s taken us 4 weeks to get one-third of 1A done,” said Gray.

Earlier in the week, Governor Cuomo made it clear: move it, or lose it. But there was no mention of taking vaccines or fining any hospitals at Friday’s news conference.

St. Lawrence Health System has administered 100 percent of its allotted vaccine.

Lewis County Health System has administered 84 percent of its vaccine, but the hospital said it will not have to send additional doses back to the state.

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center said the “community’s eligible populations have responded quickly, ensuring our current vaccine allocations’ rapid administration and readying for future doses.”

The north country has vaccinated 37 percent of healthcare workers in Phase 1A so far - the highest in the state.

But overall, the governor says hospitals across the state aren’t going fast enough. Governor Cuomo says the state will be making the vaccines more accessible to priority groups through pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and urgent care facilities.

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