COVID vaccine availability: a tale of two counties

WWNY COVID vaccine availability: a tale of two counties

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Another order of COVID vaccines is not showing up in Jefferson County. Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown requested 2,000 doses this week and has found out it’ll get none.

Samaritan was quick to put in a similar order for next week, but it won’t find out if the order gets filled for another few days.

“I think, at this point, they are determining where they need to ship those vaccines and how to distribute them. I don’t think anything is common at this point. I think we are all just making requests and hoping for the best,” said Leslie DiStefano, director of communication & public relations, SMC.

But here’s the larger concern - this comes on the heels of Jefferson County not getting an order of hundreds of doses last week.

It was then that Scott Gray, county legislature chairman, said that he’s worried vaccines are going to state-run vaccine sites, by-passing counties and hospitals.

Right now, the closest state-run clinics are in Potsdam and Syracuse.

With Jefferson County without a state-run clinic, Gray is trying to figure out how to get people vaccinated.

He says his first option is to get the state to put a clinic in Jefferson County.

If that doesn’t work, Gray says he’ll try to get doses at a state-run clinic, maybe in Potsdam, to be set aside for Jefferson County residents to qualify for the shot and then find a way to get those people to the state-run clinic.

We asked the governor’s office about Gray’s concerns, but we had not received a response as of Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the state-run site at SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall will be able to vaccinate 1,000 people per day once it ramps up to full capacity.

“The advantage is since it’s operated by the state, largely, access to the vaccine is improved,” said Dr. Andrew Williams, St. Lawrence Health System associate chief medical officer. “I think this is going to bring access to vaccine to our region and that was something that we were all very worried about.”

Right now, reservations at the state-run vaccination center at Maxcy Hall are booked through mid-February. People can make appointments online or by phone.

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