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Universal vaccine eligibility starts Tuesday as pharmacies struggle to find people to vaccinate

Universal vaccine eligibility starts Tuesday as pharmacies struggle to find people to vaccinate

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Pfizer vaccine

A vial of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19 is shown Jan. 24 at a one-day vaccination clinic set up in an Amazon.com facility in Seattle and operated by Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12.

Universal coronavirus vaccine eligibility begins Tuesday, and perhaps not a moment too soon. Locally, Walgreens and CVS have reported having vaccine left over after clinics.

Walgreens has resorted to accepting walk-ins on numerous occasions, and CVS pharmacists reported going through their entire “expiring doses” call list to find anyone to take a shot.

As a whole, the Capital Region has administered the smallest percentage of vaccine in the state.

While other regions have administered 84% to 90% of the vaccine doses they received over the last four months, the Capital Region is at 80%. The region has received 790,860 doses and given out 635,140 doses.

While the vaccine can be kept frozen, vials that are opened must be used within a matter of hours. The state has not yet made public the number of doses that had to be thrown out.

One-third of New Yorkers have now received at least one dose and 20% of the state population has been fully vaccinated. Now is the time to make sure everyone else gets the vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

“As universal eligibility for the vaccine is set to go into effect this week in New York, our goal is to continue getting as many vaccines in arms as quickly and equitably as possible,” Cuomo said in a news release.

“One in five New Yorkers have now been fully vaccinated, which is great news and a testament to the nonstop work of our providers across the state. It also means four out of five New Yorkers still need to either get a first dose or come back for their second dose, so we are not slowing down. We will continue to work with communities across the state to make sure the vaccine is accessible to every New Yorker, and meanwhile, we must all continue to care for each other by following the public health guidance including mask-wearing.”

Beginning Tuesday, all New Yorkers age 16 and older can get the vaccine. Children aren’t eligible yet because the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved it for people under age 16, but Pfizer has completed its clinical trial for children age 12 and older, and the FDA will review that data soon. Clinical trials for ages 6 months through 11 years are just beginning, with results expected in at least five months.

Sunday’s statistics

  • Warren County reported three new cases, for a total of 3,088 confirmed cases since the pandemic began. The county also reported 16 new recoveries, bringing the total number of recoveries among confirmed cases to 2,880. A total of 142 people are sick, including seven who are hospitalized with a moderate illness, the same as on Saturday.
  • Washington County reported three new cases, for a total of 2,401 confirmed cases. The county also reported 12 recoveries, for a total of 2,276 recoveries. A total of 87 people in the county are sick, including two who are hospitalized, the same as on Saturday.
  • Saratoga County does not report publicly on weekends but told the state that 69 people tested positive Saturday.
  • Essex County does not report publicly on weekends but told the state that three people tested positive Saturday.

On Saturday, the most recent day this data is available:

  • The Capital Region reported 236 new cases, a positive test rate of 1.8%, which kept the weekly average at 2.3%.
  • Warren County had a positive test rate of 0.5%, which kept the weekly average at 2.3%.
  • Washington County had a positive test rate of 2.5%, which decreased the weekly average to 2.6%.
  • Saratoga County had a positive test rate of 2.6%, which increased the weekly average to 3.3%.
  • Essex County had a positive test rate of 1.4%, which increased the weekly average to 1.5%.
  • Statewide, 7,467 people tested positive for the virus, a positive test rate of 3.31%. A total of 4,373 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Saturday and 59 people died.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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