Franklin County answers common COVID vaccine questions
What vaccines have been approved?
Currently, two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and New York state’s independent Clinical Advisory Task Force: one that was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and another that was developed by Moderna.
Who is eligible to be vaccinated now?
New York state’s vaccination plan includes a phased rollout of vaccine. Phase 1 has been divided into two tiers, 1A and 1B. New York state is in Phase 1A and 1B of distribution.
Eligible New Yorkers in Phase 1A and 1B are:
¯ High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, intensive care unit staff and pulmonary department staff)
¯ Residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities
¯ Federally qualified health center employees
¯ Emergency medical services workers
¯ Coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers
¯ Staff and residents at state Office of People with Development Disabilities, Office of Mental Health and Office of Addiction Services and Supports facilities
¯ Urgent care providers
¯ Individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff
¯ All outpatient-ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care
¯ All staff who are in direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff)
¯ All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations
This includes, but is not limited to:
¯ Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff
¯ Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff
¯ Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff
¯ Registered nurses
¯ Specialty medical practices of all types
¯ Dentists and orthodontists and their staff
¯ Psychiatrists and psychologists and their staff
¯ Physical therapists and their staff
¯ Optometrists and their staff
¯ Pharmacists and pharmacy aides
¯ Home care workers
¯ Hospice workers
¯ Staff of nursing homes/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive COVID vaccination through the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program
Beginning Jan. 11
¯ Individuals age 65 and older
¯ First responders and support staff for first responder agencies
¯ Fire service
¯ State fire service, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
¯ Local fire services, including firefighters and investigators (professional and volunteer)
¯ Police and investigators
¯ State Police, including troopers
¯ State Park Police, Department of Environmental Conservation Police, forest rangers
¯ SUNY Police
¯ Sheriffs’ offices
¯ County police departments and police districts
¯ City, town and village police departments
¯ Transit or other public authority police departments
¯ State field investigators, including Department of Motor Vehicles, state Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services and State Liquor Authority
¯ Public safety communications
¯ Emergency communication and public safety answering point personnel, including dispatchers and technicians
¯ Other sworn and civilian personnel
¯ Court officers
¯ Other police or peace officers
¯ Support of civilian staff for any of the above services, agencies or facilities
¯ State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision personnel, including correction and parole officers
¯ Local correctional facilities, including correction officers
¯ Local probation departments, including probation officers
¯ State juvenile detention and rehabilitation facilities
¯ Local juvenile detention and rehabilitation facilities
¯ P-12 schools
¯ P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff and support staff, including bus drivers)
¯ Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)
¯ Licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt group child care providers
¯ Employees or support staff of licensed or registered child care setting
¯ Public transit
¯ Airline and airport employees
¯ Passenger railroad employees
¯ Subway and mass transit employees (i.e., MTA, LIRR, Metro North, NYC Transit, Upstate transit)
¯ Ferry employees
¯ Port Authority employees
¯ Public bus employees
¯ Individuals living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared with individuals and families who are not part of the same household
¯ Individual working (paid or unpaid) in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing or eating accommodations must be shared by individuals and families who are not part of the same household, in a position where there is potential for interaction with shelter residents
¯ Public-facing grocery store workers
¯ In-person college instructors.
How much vaccine do we have now?
As expected, vaccine availability has been limited. Even though Phase 1 has been expanded to include more people, current vaccine availability is dependent on shipments from New York state, and New York depends on the federal government to deliver vaccine to the state. It’s a slow process, but the phased rollout is expected to take many weeks. Some experts say well into spring or early summer.
How do I sign up for vaccination?
As vaccine becomes available, appointments open up at sites that have received the vaccine. Currently, appointments are made through the eligibility tool at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov. Answer the eligibility questions, and if you are eligible, you are directed to sites that currently have vaccine and you may schedule an appointment.
I’ve been to the eligibility tool, and there are no appointments left at the sites I was directed to. What should I do?
This is expected as vaccine is limited at this time. Check back on a daily basis to see if there are new sites recommended and more appointments available.
I’m directed to sites that are many miles away. Do I have to travel to distant sites?
It’s up to you. The eligibility tool shows where vaccine is currently available within a 100-mile radius of your address. If there are no vaccination sites listed near you, you can choose to either go to a distant site for vaccination or wait for vaccine to be available closer to home. Keep in mind that two doses of the vaccine are needed about four weeks apart, so you would go to the same vaccination site twice.
Is it true that those 65 or older can be vaccinated at their local pharmacy?
Yes, depending on availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. New York state has mandated pharmacies to vaccinate ONLY those 65 and older. Go to Kinneydrugs.com for COVID-19 vaccination information. You can sign up for email and texts to alert you when appointments become available. Kinney Drug asks that you please get information from its website rather than call, and to please be patient as vaccination is expected to take several weeks.
How much will it cost for me to be vaccinated?
The vaccines will be available at no cost. An administration fee may be billed to your insurance company.
How do I find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and safety?
Some helpful links are:
¯ COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility app — https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov
¯ Phases of Distribution — https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine
¯ FAQs regarding the COVID-19 vaccine — https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/frequently-asked-questions-0
What should I do while waiting to get vaccinated?
While waiting to get vaccinated and until the population is fully vaccinated, it is strongly recommended that county residents continue to follow all of the safety measures that have been in place since March: Wear face coverings, distance by 6 feet or more, wash hands often, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. During the colder months, limiting indoor socializing with people from other households is very important. Gather outside, in groups of 10 or less, whenever possible or make use of virtual meeting platforms to visit with friends and non-household family members as safely as possible. If you must socialize indoors with people from other households, wearing a face covering and distancing by at least 6 feet is now strongly recommended.