As of January 15, New Yorkers eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination can only use the state’s online Am I Eligible? tool (https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/) to connect to a vaccination clinic run by the State of New York. Currently, the closest NYS clinic is at the south campus of the University at Buffalo. “This change came as a surprise to us today,” said Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Public Health Director. “People were already very frustrated because there is not enough vaccine for those eligible to receive it, and now the state has removed the only central repository of vaccine providers.”
The Chautauqua County Health Department is working on alternatives while the Western New York Vaccination Network Hub is developing a regional vaccine locator tool and hotline. All clinics conducted by the Health Department will be on the public health website (https://chqgov.com/public-health/covid-19-vaccine-information) with links to schedule appointments. It will be clearly marked if the clinic is full and you will not be able to schedule an appointment. It is best to keep checking back frequently for additional clinics with available appointment times. Appointments cannot be made by phone at this time. If other vaccine providers share information on their clinics with the Health Department, it will also be posted on the public health website.
Chautauqua County NY Connects wants to make sure those over the age of 65 have access to COVID-19 vaccine information. Those over the age of 65 can call the NY Connects Helpline at 716-753-4582, 716-661-7582, or 716-363-4582. A representative will talk to callers about vaccination options in the County and collect personal information to make sure you stay updated.
Pharmacies in NYS are only permitted to vaccinate persons 65 years of age and older. Rite Aid and Tops pharmacies in Chautauqua County have received small allocations of vaccine from NYS and had planned to utilize the state’s Am I Eligible website and hotline to schedule appointments for vaccine administration. Rite Aid is now working on other options to schedule appointments; more information is forthcoming. Please check https://www.topsmarkets.com/covid19 for availability of appointments and scheduling at Tops pharmacies. Wegmans Pharmacy in Jamestown has not received vaccine yet. Please check www.wegmans.com/pharmacy for availability and to schedule once they receive vaccine, which may not be for a few weeks.
Please be patient and considerate of vaccine providers who are doing their best to get shots in arms. “The amount of vaccine we have is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed,” added Schuyler. “As quickly as we get vaccine, we administer it and I’m hoping that the state will increase its allocations to us.”
At Governor Cuomo’s January 15 press conference, the Health Department and Brooks Hospital where hailed for administering 100% of their vaccine allocations while UPMC Chautauqua administered 98% of their allocations.
NYS is currently in Phase 1a and 1b of its distribution plan. Please visit (https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine) to see if you are eligible for vaccination at this time.
Stop the spread of COVID-19: Wear a mask; maintain a social distance of 6 feet; wash your hands often.