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Rockland gets updated list for pharmacies with vaccines, adds links to speed process

Nancy Cutler
Rockland/Westchester Journal News

Rockland County has posted a list of pharmacies and other providers in the county that are administering COVID-19 vaccines. The information was received by the county at 4:02 p.m. Wednesday and without prior notice from the state.

The county's list can be found at https://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-allocation/ and is expected to be linked to the county's homepage, rocklandgov.com, starting Thursday. 

The county also announced Thursday that Rockland County Health Department's POD at Building A in the Yeager Center was expected to receive 900 more doses for essential workers who are employed in New York state in Phase 1B of the state's vaccine distribution plan. The county was opening up their appointment system at 4 p.m. Thursday via the county's website, rocklandgov.com, or directly at https://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19. In the past, appointments have been booked up in minutes.

The county added links to the pharmacies' location, Rockland County spokesman John Lyon said, to make it easier for Rockland residents to track down vaccine information. The distribution sites schedule appointments, so people need to contact pharmacies or other sites directly.

Pharmacist Gary Langstein at the Prescription Center pharmacy in Tallman with the now empty box of 100 doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine that they received from the state Jan. 19, 2021. The pharmacy was not on the distribution list issued by the state on Feb. 3, 2021.

The list included several independent pharmacies, including New City Pharmacy, Bardonia Pharmacy and Genoa HealthCare in Valley Cottage. Five Walgreens pharmacies — in Nyack, Spring Valley, New City, Tappan and Suffern — also were listed.

"We appreciate New York State finally providing us with this current information about vaccine allocation within Rockland," County Executive Ed Day said Wednesday evening. "We need to know where vaccine is going so we can properly assist residents as they seek appointments, particularly our senior residents who may struggle with some of these processes."

Lyon said it was not clear if the information will continue to be provided on a weekly basis.

A couple weeks ago, counties across the state had received Week 6 allocation information from the state Department of Health. It was the first time counties had received that kind of information, Lyon said. The following week, Week 7 of the New York State Vaccine Distribution Program, nothing was received.

"New York must continue to send these updates to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of vaccine," Day said.

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County leaders around the region had been calling for further information about vaccine availability in their jurisdictions. While counties are mandated to provide public health services through their health departments, the New York state vaccine distributions have focused on hospital networks and state-run vaccination hubs like the one at the Westchester County Center in White Plains.

County executives, including Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Day, had hoped the county could help manage pharmacies' vaccine appointments. 

Under New York's vaccine allocation system, the following populations are served by these providers:

  • Health care workers: Local hospitals.
  • Essential workers, including police, fire, teachers, public safety personnel: Local departments of health, which in Rockland and Westchester are the county health departments. 
  • People age 65 and over: Retail sites, including pharmacies, and state-run mass vaccination sites including the Westchester County Center. 

Over the past two weeks while Rockland's pharmacy network was still nascent, New York State has mandated that Rockland County Health Department use a portion of its vaccine allocation for seniors. Day said Wednesday that the county health department's POD at the Yeager Center would not be receiving doses this week for those age 65-plus.

The county’s Office for the Aging offers seniors aid with vaccination information. Call 845-364-2110.

Nancy Cutler writes about People & Policy. Click here for her latest stories. Follow her on Twitter at @nancyrockland