With many raising concerns with New York State’s coronavirus vaccine distribution process, state Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-I-C-Rome, is urging the state Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and the state Department of Health to revamp its existing policy.

“I recently took part in a discussion with Commissioner Zucker regarding the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Sen. Griffo said. “While I recognize that the coronavirus pandemic is an ever-changing situation, this dialogue failed to answer many questions and made it clear that immediate changes must be made to the state’s plans to supply the vaccine to the public.” 

Sen. Griffo urged the following be undertaken to improve the delivery of the vaccine and provide important information for New Yorkers: 

A state hotline that the public can call to figure out when they are eligible for the coronavirus vaccine and where they can go to receive it should be in place immediately as well as an app created by the state. 

More enhanced and flexible partnerships with county governments that allow their health departments to assist with the distribution of the vaccine. Additionally, a declaration form – similar to what is done at pharmacies where customers can request counseling – should be developed that allows individuals to either accept or decline the vaccine. Once health departments know that one classification of the population has been vaccinated and what their actual vaccine inventory is, then they should be able to seek approval to move on to the next established and eligible recipients. 

Nursing home visitation should be revisited and revised as residents and staff have received the vaccine. Many residents are beginning to lose their lives as a result of isolation in addition to COVID-19. 

“There are ways to make the distribution process more effective and efficient,” Sen. Griffo said. “Our goal should be ensuring that everyone has access to the vaccine in a timely manner and that the public is kept informed as we move forward. My recommendations can help us to do that and provide more clarity and direction for New Yorkers during an uncertain time.” 

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