We know there has been much anxiety and frustration surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. We understand and share these sentiments. The best we at CCP can do is be transparent about what we know and what we don’t know. We want to keep you informed as to where we stand with vaccine at CCP.
According to New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) guidance on January 19, physician groups like CCP, after vaccinating their own patient-facing staff, can only vaccinate persons aged 65 years or older. However right now, we do not have any vaccine at CCP for anyone.
Vaccines are ordered and distributed in small batches. On January 8, we administered the first dose of vaccine to some of our 1a population of employees with supply that was redistributed to us from a local hospital. We are awaiting the delivery of second doses to complete these employees’ vaccinations. Many weeks ago, we also ordered additional vaccines to finish vaccinating our 1a staff and to begin the process for eligible patients. However, we now don’t know when/if that supply will come. There are no guarantees we will receive any vaccine supply in the near future.
As such, if you are eligible, you must get your vaccine elsewhere, at least for now. Do not wait for your vaccine at CCP. If/when we receive vaccine, we will let you know. Below are the ways to schedule for our region. We understand appointments are not readily available. You’ll need to check back often. Even if months out, take any appointment that becomes available. Go with the sure thing. Get the appointment wherever, whenever you can.
This is where you can schedule a vaccine appointment:
- "Am I Eligible" website on the New York State Department of Health website (https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/)
- The state vaccination hotline – call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829)
- Visit CapitalRegionVAX.org – this is the Albany Med Regional Vaccine Hub and has the latest information about vaccine locations and scheduling. As more vaccine locations are established, this site will post that information.
- https://www.pricechopper.com/covidvaccine/ – Price Chopper's direct website to schedule appointments if you are eligible. Vaccine is available to patients that are 65 and older.
Our understanding is that as additional pharmacies are set up as vaccine providers, they may have their own websites to schedule as supply is received. This information will likely be posted on the CapitalRegionvax.org regional hub website.
Right now, all vaccine providers are in the same boat. Demand far exceeds supply. Please trust that we are all doing what we can with the resources and supplies available. As more vaccine providers are established and supply is received, appointments will open up.
What we know so far from the Department of Health guidance for vaccine providers (as of January 19) is that providers must prioritize their healthcare workers; hospitals must continue to prioritize unvaccinated healthcare workers from the 1A group; retail pharmacies and physician network or practice groups, after vaccinating their own patient-facing staff, should only vaccinate persons aged 65 years or older; local Health Departments must prioritize the essential worker population in 1B.
All of this depends on vaccine supply, and these rules may change. Just keep an eye on the above websites/hotlines and they will guide you to where you can schedule if/when you’re eligible.
When/if we receive vaccine at CCP, this is our plan.
- According to NYS DOH, after our 1a population of employees is vaccinated, we can move on to a subset of the 1b population – patients who are 65 years of age and older. We are not permitted to vaccinate any other population in the 1b category (for example, we cannot vaccinate teachers under the age of 65).
- Please do not call your doctors’ offices to schedule your vaccine. Your doctors will not be scheduling or vaccinating you. Because of the stringent and extensive requirements for storage and reporting, if/when we receive vaccine at CCP, everything from scheduling to administering the vaccine will be conducted centrally at our approved vaccine locations across the region.
- If you have an upcoming appointment at one of our offices, do not expect to receive the COVID vaccine at that time, even if you are in an eligible group. This vaccine is not like the flu or shingles vaccine. Once vaccine is received, we are only authorized to administer the COVID vaccine in our approved regional vaccination distribution centers.
- A few months ago, we mentioned distributing a survey to patients to help assign you to the appropriate vaccine priority group. In the interim, NYS Department of Health has defined the priority groupings that all vaccine providers must follow, so this survey is no longer necessary.
- We can only order and distribute vaccine in small batches, and we have over 60,000 eligible patients 65 years and older. So, as you can imagine, it will require more than just CCP to vaccinate these patients. It will be a community effort, which is why we encourage you to continue checking the websites/phone lines listed above.
- If/when we do get supply, we must ensure distribution is equitable. We will randomly select a number of eligible patients 65 and older based on the expected supply, and send these patients an email, text, or robocall informing you that you can now schedule your vaccine at CCP with instructions how to schedule. We will roll this out in batches, not to all eligible patients at once, so we do not crash our web and phone systems potentially causing further frustrations as we’ve seen occur already in the community.
- We cannot set up a schedule until we are certain we will receive vaccine supply.
- Again, we have no concrete timeline. This is entirely dependent on when/if we receive the vaccine. Even though we are in regular communication with those at the regional and state level, vaccine supply and distribution are entirely out of our control.
Who is eligible:
- As of January 11, 2021, New Yorkers in Phase 1a and Phase 1b are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. You can see who is included in these groups here: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine
- Please note, the immunocompromised are not yet eligible. NYS DOH has yet to define this category or officially announce those who are immunocompromised as being eligible.
- Many of our patients have been asking when people younger than 65 with comorbidities will be eligible. Other than what has been communicated as priority groups 1a and 1b, we don’t yet know when other priority groups will be announced and defined by the NYS Department of Health. When those announcements are made, we are learning at the same time as you. Across the region and the state, there is still quite a bit of work to do to finish vaccinating those currently eligible, so we don’t anticipate the eligibility groups to expand in the immediate future.
Limited amounts of COVID-19 vaccine are available for New York’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program. The amount of vaccine the state receives is based upon the allocation made to New York by the federal government. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) then determines state allocations to providers and entities who have enrolled to administer vaccine, like CCP. The NYSDOH continues to expand on its prioritization and allocation framework based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Thank you all for heeding our guidance. Patience, while difficult, is necessary. You’ve heard it before; this is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take some time to vaccinate all those who will accept it. The best we can do is be patient, be vigilant with checking the above resources for appointments, and be safe by following the universal precautions of handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing even after you get vaccinated, whenever possible.