With the new administration, and the new year, there has been a significant increase in those getting vaccinated. Roll-out plans, more purchasing and availability, and several new sites being opened for New Yorkers, it is safe to say that the projections of a “normal summer” might just be right.
However, from complicated internet searches to severe wait times, there are obvious hang-ups that are leaving many young, and old, New Yorkers in a rut when it comes to what happens before, during, and after they have received their vaccinations. So, what should you, as a community member, know?
As of the writing of this article, Allegany County is only vaccinating those who are 65 years and older, those with underlying conditions, as well as those who fall in the Phase 1B category. This list includes first responders, school faculty, grocery store clerks, campus RAs/RDs, and other essential in-person workers.
There are several steps for individuals to get their vaccine, which can become confusing or even near impossible to do if they don’t have access to the internet. If you know someone who is eligible for the vaccine but cannot be put onto the waiting list or schedule their appointment because of this, help them navigate this. All of these steps about to be listed are available in greater detail in the website link given at the end of this article.
The first step is to register for a vaccine using the link given on the website. The second, once you have a confirmed appointment, is to complete the New York State Covid-19 Vaccine Form—it’s recommended to complete this ahead of time to avoid additional complications. When you are fully scheduled, bring appropriate forms of ID (such as employee identification or pay stubs, if you’re eligible via work, and/or your driver’s license if you’re eligible via age.) Be aware that different eligibility and sites may require additional identification. There will be a clinical questionnaire to fill out upon arrival. Finally, at the site, you will have to schedule your second dose.
While Allegany County, itself, does not have many available choices, there are several state-run mass vaccination sites nearby. Some of these include the Rochester Dome Area in Henrietta, Jamestown Community College in Olean, and SUNY Binghamton in Johnson City. There is a consistently updated list of these sites, and more, on this website: https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
Over the course of Americans waiting their turn for the vaccine, the CDC has authorized three versions: Pzifer-BioTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. Pfizer and Moderna both require two doses, ranging from twenty-one days (Pfizer) to a month (Moderna) apart. They are both mRNA vaccines, which means they teach your cells how to make a protein to trigger an immune response. It does not contain a weakened version of Covid-19. J&J is a single shot, viral vector vaccine. This means that a “vector” (a harmless, modified virus) enters your cells to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes Covid-19, causing the body to learn how to defend against the real Covid-19. This does not infect you with Covid-19.
The CDC has several recommendations for individuals during and after vaccination. While in the middle of your first and second dose, remain masked and vigilant, as there is still a chance for transmission and infection. Once fully vaccinated, you can gather with other vaccinated individuals maskless and without social distancing. However, if you’re interacting with unvaccinated individuals, stay masked and distanced.
Allegany County’s numbers have reached a safe level, and with the mass roll-out of vaccinations, they will likely stay that way. But it is important to know where to get your information, and how to help others during this time. As previously stated, if you know someone who is having difficulty in scheduling their vaccine, help them. For continually updated information regarding Allegany County’s roll-out plan, visit https://www.alleganyco.com/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine-information/.
By Sam Sage