Errors tarnished New York State’s expanded vaccination rollout on day one

Under the state’s expanded vaccination plan, an additional 4 million New Yorkers are eligible to receive the vaccine. However, mistakes caused great confusion on Monday.

NIAGARA FALLS, NY – On the first day of the New York State rollout that increased the number of people who could be vaccinated, many jumped at the opportunity and yes, there were some issues as things went.

Before Monday, healthcare workers and nursing homes in particular were eligible to receive the vaccine. From Monday, first aiders, teachers, transit workers and people aged 75 and over will be added.

“Thank you for calling the New York State COVID-19 vaccination line. We’re sorry we are temporarily unable to answer your call.”

That’s the message New Yorkers received after 4 p.m. Monday when the state’s COVID-19 vaccination hotline went online.

Additionally, the State Health Department’s Vaccine Eligibility Form incorrectly lists the Erie County Health Department’s main line and Sexual Health Clinic as vaccine providers. The county says it is working with the state to fix this.

In Niagara County, teachers also visited the state’s vaccine website.

“It has moved everyone in Niagara County to one location in Erie County, which obviously isn’t particularly convenient when Erie County teachers visit that location,” said Dan Weiss, president of the Niagara Falls Schools Teachers Union.

He says more than 100 Niagara Falls teachers who checked the Niagara County’s Department of Health website were able to schedule an appointment for the vaccine as early as Tuesday.

“For some, it’s a welcome relief to others that they may not want to attend,” Weiss said. “But we’re still happy that our members will have the option to get vaccinated if they choose, and give them extra security that they didn’t have a few weeks ago.”

The NFTA, with 1,600 employees, most of whom are bus drivers, police officers and firefighters, is preparing to vaccinate workers. The NFTA is interviewing its staff to determine who is interested in the vaccine.

“We have an actual medical department within the NFTA, as well as a lot of skilled people who can actually vaccinate and are qualified to do vaccinations, so we’re in really good prospect,” said Helen Tederous, director of public affairs for the NFTA NFTA.

A vaccination station is being set up on the UB South campus, but we don’t know exactly when or what the hours will be.

And Wegmans has announced that its pharmacies on Alberta Drive and Sheridan Drive will receive a limited number of doses for those ages 75 and up. And despite Wegmans claiming to make an appointment online, we haven’t found a way to actually do it.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says more pharmacies will go online Wednesday to offer the vaccine. And that at the current rate of vaccine distribution, it will take months to complete Phase 1.

We’ll continue to keep track of the vaccine rollout to see how things go.

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