Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced the list of comorbidities and underlying health conditions that determine eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccination.
Due to the increased risk of moderate or severe illness or death from COVID-19, adults of any age who have one or more of the following comorbidities will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Feb. 15, 2021: Cancer (current or in remission); Chronic Kidney Disease; Pulmonary Disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, moderate-to-severe asthma, cystic fibrosis, etc.); Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Heart Conditions (heart failure, hypertension, coronary artery disease, etc.); Immuno-compromised State (solid organ transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of immune weakening medications, etc.); Severe Obesity (BMI 40kg/m2); Pregnancy; Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassemia; Type 1 or 2 Diabetes Mellitus; Cerebrovascular Disease; Neurologic Conditions (Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc.); and Liver Disease. This list is subject to change.
To show you have a comorbidity or underlying health condition, documentation specified by the facility where you are getting vaccinated is required. Documentation may include a doctor’s letter or signed certification.
Phases and vaccine locations are designated by Governor Cuomo. All vaccine sites follow directives from New York State regarding vaccine distribution and decides each week how many doses are sent to Tioga County and for which groups the supply is designated.
Ten million New Yorkers are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Tioga County has no control over the process or the limited vaccine supply.
“Tioga Public Health is still waiting for its COVID-19 vaccine supply to catch up with the number of residents eligible to receive vaccinations,” Public Health Director Lisa McCafferty stated on Wednesday.
She added, “With the addition of those with comorbidities being added, a large segment of Tioga County’s population will be eligible. Unfortunately, the vaccine supply provided to the health department on a weekly basis can only reach a very small percent of the population. Based on allocations New York State receives weekly, it will take months to vaccinate those who are currently eligible.”
To help make the vaccine search process easier, United Health Services recently launched a new website to help residents find COVID-19 vaccination clinics across the Southern Tier. Visit: https://www.nyuhs.org/southerntiervax.
Tioga County’s Public Health Department also noted that you do not need to stay within your home county of residence to get vaccinated and can travel to any county that has vaccines available.
Pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccination in and around Tioga County for individuals 65 years and older only include Walgreens (www.walgreens.com/topic/promotion/covid-vaccine.jsp), CVS (www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine), Wegmans (www.wegmans.com/pharmacy), Weis Pharmacy (www.weismarkets.com/), Kinney Drugs (www.kinneydrugs.com/pharmacy/covid-19/covid-19-vaccinations/email-sign-up/), Rite Aid (www.riteaid.com/pharmacy/services/vaccine-central), and Tops (www.topsmarkets.com/COVID19).
You must visit their online links and schedule the appointments electronically.
Also, here are some COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic FAQs from the County:
Why are Tioga County vaccination clinics limited to specific populations?
County Response: New York State decides how the local health department distributes vaccines. For instance, NYS may send us 100 vaccines specifically for essential works in phase 1B. This means we can only open the clinic up to individuals who meet those criteria. Other clinics may be dedicated to individuals 65 years and older or those with developmental disabilities; the Tioga County Public Health Department does not determine when those clinics will occur.
Why is there such short notice for vaccination clinics?
County Response: Our department is notified of the next vaccine shipment only about 24 hours before it arrives. That gives us a short amount of time to schedule and plan a clinic. New York State has directed local health departments not to plan clinics until the vaccine shipment arrives, as we do not know how much vaccine we will receive and what population we will be directed to open the clinic up to.
Whenever a sign-up link for a clinic is posted there are never any spots left, why?
County Response: Our department typically receives enough vaccine to vaccinate 100 people per clinic. Spots fill up very quickly as there are hundreds of Tioga County residents anxiously waiting to receive their vaccine. New York State estimates it will take up to 14 weeks to vaccinate everyone who is currently eligible. Please keep checking the link for clinics you qualify for, as even if the spots appear to be filled, some people click the link but do not finish registering and those spots will show back up as open.
Where can I find out about clinics?
County Response: Tioga County vaccination clinics are posted on the Tioga County Public Health Facebook page and on the Tioga County COVID-19 website, www.tiogacountyny.com/programs-agencies/covid19/. Notifications for upcoming clinics may also be sent via email.
For clinics in or around Tioga County, visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ or www.nyuhs.org/southerntiervax.