Rockland Runs Out: County Exhausts Supply of COVID Vaccine as State Gov. Expands Eligibility

By: Joe Kuhn

The Rockland County Health Department has officially distributed its entire supply of Covid-19 vaccinations. On Sunday, Jan 11, County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert announced a temporary halt of COVID-19 vaccinations at the POD (Point of Dispensing) location in Pomona due to a lack of the vaccines. The Rockland County Department of Health received 1,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, Jan 5th. In three days, the county administered every available dose of the vital medication, exhausting their supply by the close of business Friday, January 8th.

“We train every year to perform mass vaccinations and have significant experience to draw upon after the measles outbreak of 2018-2019. Our results show that we’re able to get this vaccine into people’s arms safely and efficiently, but without additional vaccine, these efforts must be put on hold,” said Dr. Ruppert. “Having foreseen this eventuality, we requested additional vaccine from New York State the evening of Wednesday, January 6th, but have not yet received any additional doses.”

Upon receipt of additional vaccine, the Rockland County Department of Health will immediately resume vaccinations at Pomona’s POD location. Since supply availability changes frequently, eligible Rocklanders are encouraged to check the state’s Am I Eligible webpage for alternative vaccination site options.

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New Yorkers within priority group 1b (a group that comprises more than three million state residents) can now also begin scheduling appointments with individual providers, including pharmacies, local health departments, and hospitals, to receive the vaccine. Those now eligible to receive the vaccine include individuals 75 and older, first responders, public safety officers, teachers, and other school staff, childcare workers, public-facing grocery store workers, transit workers, and individuals living and working in homeless shelters.

The full list of those who are currently eligible is available at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phases-vaccine-distribution

An online tool to confirm your eligibility can be found at https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ 

Individuals being vaccinated must bring proof of eligibility to the vaccination site. This may include a State or Federal ID, an employee ID card, a letter from an employer or affiliated organization, or a pay stub.

Residents are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment. While more than four million New Yorkers are now eligible for vaccination, the vaccine supply coming from the federal government arrives at a rate of approximately 300,000 doses per week.

To distribute existing supplies as effectively as possible, the state Department of Health is setting up 20 mass distribution sites throughout New York over the next several weeks to support all eligibility categories. One of those sites will be located in neighboring Westchester County.

Starting Wednesday, the Westchester County Center will serve as a regional hub for COVID-19 vaccinations, with appointments available as early as Jan 13.