LOWVILLE — Lewis County officials have taken the constantly revolving and evolving COVID-19 vaccination registration into their own hands.
County residents can now avoid the state registration site by going to www.lewiscounty.org and clicking on a link to pre-register for the next round of vaccinations that arrive, according to a Wednesday release from County Manager Ryan R. Piche.
The new site was launched “due to the small number of vaccines received” by the county each week.
Lewis County Public Health will contact people on the list of pre-registrants to be scheduled as vaccines become available, the release said, but it’s not clear how the people who sign up with the local pre-registration site will be prioritized in relation to people who sign up for appointments on the state registration site.
As of Monday, people with pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 became eligible for the vaccine. The state COVID-19 website states pre-existing conditions include cancer; chronic kidney disease; various lung diseases; intellectual and developmental disabilities; heart conditions; anyone who has a compromised immune system because of medical conditions like organ, blood or bone marrow transplants and HIV, among others; obesity and severe obesity; Types 1 or 2 diabetes; sickle cell disease or thalassemia; neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia; and liver disease.
“The Lewis County Public Health Department and area providers are prepared for this expansion,” Mr. Piche said. “Individuals with underlying conditions who wish to be vaccinated ... will need to verify their eligibility by completing a personal attestation at the time of registration. A letter from your doctor is not necessary.“
Although the week is more than half over, Mr. Piche said there still has not been any information from the state about the first-dose shots due for this week’s clinic. The doses have been delayed due to the severe snowstorm that’s pummeled parts of the southern and western U.S. that aren’t generally prepared for cold weather.
Second-dose shots and their related appointments have not been impacted by the weather issue. Those appointments are booked and dose-secured when a person is given their first vaccination shot.
In the first nine weeks of novel coronavirus vaccination availability, 3,300 county residents have been given the first of two doses, 53.5% of whom are people 65 years of age and older, and 1,688 residents are fully vaccinated, the release said.
Because public health has been inundated with phone calls for information about ongoing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, people without internet access are asked to first reach out to friends, family or neighbors who do have access for help with pre-registration on the county portal.
Those without any way to get online can call public health at 315-376-5453 to be pre-registered.
“To those waiting anxiously for a vaccine, your patience is appreciated,” Mr. Piche said, “We understand the registration system can be frustrating, but know that we are making progress. As we wait for more vaccines, remember, the best way to fight the spread of COVID-19 is to wear a mask, observe social distancing, and wash your hands.”