Chenango County sets targeted COVID vaccine clinics

ContributedA Chenango County Health Department employee is shown filling a syringe with COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in this undated photo.

The Chenango County Health Department has deployed several targeted COVID-19 vaccination clinics at various sites throughout the county in an effort to immunize local residents as efficiently as possible.

As of March 2, the department had administered 2,147 doses — 1,490 first doses and 657 second doses, according to Isaiah Sutton, county director of environmental health.

Four hundred first doses and 274 second doses of the Moderna vaccine, which doesn’t require ultracold storage, were administered last week, and an additional 300 doses, including the first batch of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine, were expected to arrive this week.

Distribution is still prioritized to those eligible under phases 1a and 1b of the vaccine rollout, as determined by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Oxford Academy and Central School District has hosted vaccination clinics for educators throughout the county for two weeks and counting, vaccinating nearly 700 teachers to date, Sutton said.

“We put a call out to all Chenango County schools and asked them to submit a list of employees who were interested in getting the vaccine,” Sutton said. “We decided that a lottery system would be the most fair way to allocate, based on percentages from each district.”

Oxford Academy was chosen to be the designated vaccination site because of its central location and capacity to handle those participating in the clinic at a safe volume.

“I’m very proud of it. It’s been a very well-coordinated effort,” Oxford District Superintendent John Hillis said, crediting high school principal Dawn Hover.

“I think everybody is doing a great job, and educators throughout the community are grateful we’ve done this,” Hillis said. Educators are on track to become the county’s first group to be fully vaccinated, Sutton said, noting that several eligible educators received their vaccines at state-run vaccination clinics outside the county.

Similarly targeted clinics have been held throughout the county for local law enforcement officials and first responders, Sutton said. At 13%, Chenango County’s overall vaccination rate of eligible groups remains mostly on par with the statewide rate of 14%, according to Sutton. Chenango County does not yet have a waiting list for anyone under age 65 with comorbidities or underlying health conditions, but the public will be notified as soon as doses are available, Sutton said. 

Those eligible under phases 1a and 1b, including those 65 and older, can join the Chenango County waiting list by emailing their name, date of birth, address, phone number and eligibility criteria to COVID19@co.chenango.ny.us. Those without email or internet access may call 607-337-1660 to be added to a separate waiting list.

Visit am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829) for more information on statewide vaccine availability.

Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at seames@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.

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