COVID-19 vaccine clinic fills all 400 slots in 45 minutes

Jennifer A. Pelton, director of Adult Services at Transitional Living Services in Watertown, is vaccinated Dec. 30 for COVID-19. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — New York state and the rest of the nation are moving forward with the herculean task of vaccinating millions of people in an attempt to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, more than 15.4 million New York state residents are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine — a process that could take months.

Here’s what we know about how to sign up to receive a dose of the vaccine. We’ll continue to keep this story updated regularly as details and information about the distribution changes regularly.

We also want to hear from you about your experience signing up for and receiving a vaccine. Send us your thoughts at vgolden@wdt.net.

(Last updated: Jan. 15 5:30 p.m.)

Q: Are there any places I can receive a vaccine without an appointment?

A: No.

Q: Who is currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Those eligible to receive the vaccine are people aged 65 and older; first responders and support staff of first responder agencies (includes police, fire, EMS and corrections); public safety communications (dispatchers and technicians); court officers; all pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school staff (includes teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, support staff, contractors working in schools); in-person college instructors; public-facing grocery store workers; public transit; and individuals living or working in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared.

Q: Where can I receive the vaccine if I am...?

A: See the next section for where to sign up for appointments at these locations...

Pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher:

BOCES officials in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties say they’re working with school districts and county public health departments to organize vaccination clinics specifically for teachers. Superintendents at each school should be able to confirm whether they’re working out a plan to hold a special vaccination clinic. Otherwise, those in this group can sign up to be vaccinated at a county clinic or the SUNY Potsdam state-run site.

First responder:

First responders can be vaccinated at any county vaccination clinic or the SUNY Potsdam state-run site. The state is also encouraging companies, unions or other groups of these appointments to work with county health departments to set up their own dedicated vaccination clinics, but it’s unclear if any are being coordinated in our region.

Those aged 65 and older:

Anyone over the age of 65 can sign up to receive a vaccine at almost all sites. Pharmacy providers are currently accepting appointments exclusively for people aged 65 and older. You can search for these providers using the state’s search tool, but most providers have their own sign-up webpage. These populations can also sign up for appointments at the SUNY Potsdam state-run site.

Public-facing health care professional in a high-risk setting:

High-risk public-facing medical personnel have been able to receive COVID-19 vaccines through their respective hospital system for several weeks. The state has advised that hospitals will continue vaccinations of their own staff that are willing.

Resident or staff member in a long-term care facility:

Residents and staff members in long-term care facilities, primarily nursing homes, are receiving vaccinations through a federal program facilitated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first of these have already been conducted in our regions, and will continue to be overseen by each facility in coordination with pharmacy providers.

Q: It says all the available appointments are filled. When will they be open again?

A: Several county officials have said they expect to receive more doses of the vaccine on a weekly basis and they will open up slots for new appointments to correspond with those deliveries for their clinics.

The pharmacy providers, primarily Kinney in the tri-county region, has an email notification system where those who are eligible will receive an email when more appointments are open. You can sign up for those alerts here: secure.kinneydrugs.com/pharmacy/covid-19/covid-19-vaccinations/email-sign-up.

It’s unclear how often the state’s site at SUNY Potsdam will open up to register for new appointments.

Q: Where do I go to sign up to make an appointment for the vaccine at each location?

A: Here are answers by county...

SUNY Potsdam state vaccination site: The state signups are available at its online portal — am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov — or by calling the hotline at 833-697-4829.

Jefferson County clinics: When open, Jefferson county’s vaccination clinics will be available for appointments through the public health service’s website — co.jefferson.ny.us/departments/PublicHealth/COVID-19Vaccine-C19VAC. The county may open a hotline in the future, but does not have one available currently.

Lewis County clinics: When open, Lewis county’s vaccination clinics will be available for appointments through the public health department’s website — lewiscounty.org/departments/public-health/vaccine.

St. Lawrence County clinics: St. Lawrence County has not provided details about how it will be conducting sign ups for vaccination clinics when they occur.

Kinney Drugs: Kinney Drugs has a portal open to sign up for a vaccination appointment when open at secure.kinneydrugs.com/pharmacy/covid-19/vaccination-scheduling/ny.

Q: Do I need to schedule a second appointment for my second dose?

A: No, all locations will schedule your second dose at the time you receive your first.

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