ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — As of Tuesday, none of the sites listed in Monroe County are set to start distributing vaccines for Phase 1B, but it’s expected to happen soon.
When those sites are ready, you’ll have to make an appointment. So how do you make an appointment, and why are state officials urging patience?
For the first question, on how to make an appointment: the state lists a vaccine hotline on their website, but due to high call volume, your best bet at this time may be registering through the website. Enter your name, contact info, address, some info about your work situation, and a list of available sites shows up if you are eligible.
MORE | ‘Am I Eligible’ app helps New Yorkers determine when, where they can get the COVID-19 vaccine
Pharmacies like Rite Aid are directing customers to book appointments through the state website, while others like Miller’s Pharmacy in West Henrietta, and Wegmans are urging customers to register through their own websites.
For the second question: what’s the hold up? The demand is higher than ever. For Wegmans, all nine locations in the state are filled up for appointments as of Monday night. Rite Aid has the vaccines but will open registration later this week. Tops and Walgreens appear to not yet have the vaccine, and are unable to make appointments.
For example, when you call Walgreens, you hear this recorded message: “Walgreens can not make appointments or approve your availability for the vaccine.”
Local pharmacies like Miller’s Pharmacy have placed orders for vaccines, but are unsure as to when they’ll ship.
Governor Cuomo says it could take up to 14 weeks for those looking to schedule an appointment. He says this is largely due to a growing number of eligible people, that can’t keep up with only so many vaccines.
“But we have a population eligible of about 7 million now, and we receive about 300,000 doses per week. That has not changed, the federal government hasn’t given us an additional allocation,” he said in a phone press conference Tuesday.
Anne Marie Cook, CEO of Monroe County Lifespan says she’s been taking a lot of concerned calls from family members of those in the 75 and older age group, concerned and confused.
“I’m telling people to please be patient, eventually those pharmacies will get the vaccine, you will get vaccinated.” Cook says if an older adult doesn’t have access to a computer, they can call Lifespan for assistance at 244-8400. “It’s a community effort no question about it, I think by the end of the week will look a lot different than today,” she said.
The Monroe County Department of Health is directing those in that age group to wait for their health care provider to call you. Rochester Regional Health and UR Medicine will be contacting some of their patients to help facilitate appointments and get people the vaccine.
A statement from the state suggests different hubs are working through the process at different paces:
“Different providers are in different stages – some have the vaccine and are scheduling appointments, others are just lining up appointments in a planning effort so they can begin once they receive their allocation, and others have registered to participate but have not yet begun accepting appointments. Again, demand is outpacing supply right now.“
The Dome Arena is also listed as a distribution site for Rochester residents. News 8 has reached out to both Monroe County and the Dome Arena to confirm when they are starting vaccination and what that would look like, but nothing is confirmed. A county spokesperson says the registration should start for Dome Arena next week.