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“Helping Out” By Rockland County Executive Ed Day

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There is still considerable confusion regarding this New York State vaccination process which is completely understandable given the frequent changes in rules and guidance announced by the state and the Governor without any local consultation or awareness. We appreciate your patience when working through these announcements and what they really mean as we’re usually finding out at the same time you are, when the words come out of the Governor’s mouth.

The associated Executive Orders and official guidance are then sent to us to decipher hours or even days later. To say this process is frustrating for all involved in an understatement.

Part of the confusion rests in which eligible populations can be vaccinated at any given place, an approach that I don’t quite understand or agree with. However, the most recent New York State rules require that:

 Hospital and health care workers and others from the Phase 1A group get
vaccinated at hospitals.
 Those over 65 from the Phase 1B group get vaccinated at pharmacies, physician
network or practice groups and doctors’ offices.
 Essential workers in the Phase 1B get vaccinated at Local Health Departments.
However, making this even more confusing, New York State sent our Health
Department vaccine specifically for seniors the last two weeks due to local pharmacies
not being fully prepared to vaccinate folks. This week we will not be receiving an
allocation for seniors.

New York State has instructed seniors to contact pharmacies directly to schedule appointments. The issue with this is that no one can tell us which pharmacies are getting vaccine any given week and we’re part of government. This New York State process is not well thought out, and it is not set up for the ease of seniors who may have difficulty with websites and technology.

One of the ways we are trying to help out is through our Office for the Aging, which has been taking calls from Rockland residents and adding them to their database for assistance with getting appointments. Over 6,500 seniors have been added so far. And in prior weeks we were able to schedule these folks for vaccinations at our Health Department but due to the New York State changing the rules we can no longer do that.

Our Office for the Aging is now working to create agreements with local pharmacies, to handle their registration process when they receive vaccine. These local businesses have small staffs and need help. As we saw early on when they were originally listed on a NYS website, they were overwhelmed with calls. We want to avoid that and avoid the need for seniors to have to call dozens of pharmacies day after day searching for an appointment.

Our Office for the Aging is still taking calls from seniors at 845-364-2110, but they are extremely busy. We’ve expanded the number of phone lines, brought in staff from other departments and are considering additional ways to improve this process. So please, be patient if you are trying to call. And if you have spoken to an Office for the Aging team member and given them all your pertinent information these is no need to call back.

They will call you when they are able to secure an appointment which given the slow distribution of vaccine by New York State and the Federal government may take weeks or months.

I don’t write any of this to point fingers or place blame, I’m merely telling you the truth about what we all face. The bottom line is this, until more vaccines come from New York State and the Feds our success will be limited. But we will not stop working to improve this process however we can locally and fiercely advocating for all of you!

*This is a weekly article by Rocklad County Executive Ed Day.

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Government

Rockland County Vaccination Process Update (March 4, 2021)

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POMONA, NY – County Executive Ed Day announced on Thursday that a total of 2,920 COVID-19 vaccines were scheduled to arrive at the Rockland County Department of Health as part of Week 12 of the New York State vaccination program. This allocation includes 1,700 Moderna vaccines (700 for Phase 1B Essential Workers, 500 for those with Comorbidities and 500 for those 65+), 500 Johnson and Johnson vaccines (for those 65+) and 720 Pfizer vaccines (for those 65+) and is the largest allocation received to date.

In total, Rockland County providers received 6,920 doses of COVID-19 vaccine during the week of March 1-7, far outpacing prior week’s allocations. The list of locations in Rockland receiving vaccine from New York State is available here: https://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-allocation/

New York State determines how much vaccine is sent to each vaccination site and which populations they are allowed to vaccinate. Westchester Medical Center has launched an interactive map to assist Hudson Valley residents with accessing COVID-19 vaccinations which is available here: https://public.tableau.com/profile/wmchealth#!/vizhome/HudsonValleyCOVID-19VaccineDirectory/DirectoryMap

“We have recently seen a little more flexibility from the State in terms of who we are able to vaccinate and I am pleased that we are once again able to get shots into the arms of seniors at our Health Department clinic,” said County Executive Ed Day. “And now that we are seeing increasing doses of all three FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Rockland providers we are starting to make real progress.”

The Rockland County Department of Health is currently able to vaccinate these eligible groups:

Essential Workers from Phase 1B
Residents and Staff of congregate settings certified by the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
Individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions
Individuals who are 65+

Appointments for the 1,720 total doses allocated for seniors are being set up by the Rockland County Office for the Aging. Seniors who signed up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist are being called in the order in which they joined the list. The Rockland County Emergency Operations Center was activated to assist in this process with nearly 20 County Departments and volunteers currently participating.

Rockland residents age 65+ can still sign up to the Senior COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist by calling the Rockland County Office for the Aging at 845-364-2110, Monday through Friday (except holidays), 8:00 am through 5:00 pm. Spanish and Creole speakers are available. In addition, residents can sign up online https://form.jotform.com/210357060190041.

Appointments for those certified by the OPWDD are being set up by the Rockland County Department of Health.

Appointments for Essential Workers from Phase 1B and individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions are being made via weekly open public registration.

The Rockland County Department of Health announces each public registration hours ahead of time via press release, social media posts and website updates. This process will continue for the foreseeable future at different dates and times to allow for more access.

“On a personal note, I was able to register to be vaccinated as a senior individual with a comorbidity during the recent public registration for this group and received my first dose of the Moderna vaccine this afternoon. While I have been eligible for a shot since January, when everyone 65 years of age and up became eligible, I had not sought a vaccine because I recognized that there were those in our community who needed it more than I did. But with vaccine supply now increasing and hearing the feedback I received from many residents along with my friends and family urging me to get the shot, I have done so. I encourage everyone to get the shot when it is their turn as I believe these vaccines are safe and effective and I trust the advice of the public health professionals in the Department of Health. My message to you is this, we will continue to do everything in our power to get shots into the arms of Rockland residents, to share information about where vaccinations are available and raise awareness around the importance of getting vaccinated. For those still searching, please be patient. This process is improving, and we will get you vaccinated,” said County Executive Day.

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Government

Rep. Mondaire Jones Named Vice Chair Of Judiciary Subcommittee On Courts, Intellectual Property, And The Internet

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Mondaire Jones by Rockland Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY) announced his appointment as Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Administration of the U.S. Courts, the Federal Rules of Evidence, Civil and Appellate Procedure, judicial ethics, patent, trademark law, and information technology.

“I’m honored to be named Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, which has jurisdiction over many of the most important facets of our society and our democracy,” said Congressman Jones. “Over the past four years, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and their GOP allies have led a hostile takeover of our courts, from the Supreme Court on down. To break the far right’s grip on the federal courts and get our democracy working for the people again, we must press forward with reforms – including court expansion. As Vice Chair of the subcommittee of jurisdiction, I’ll work to ensure we do.”

Congressman Jones has also been appointed to the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, which has jurisdiction over bankruptcy and commercial law, bankruptcy judgeships, administrative law, independent counsel, state taxation affecting interstate commerce, interstate compacts, and antitrust matters.

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