After two months of frustration and very little access, Covid-19 vaccines began making their way to the East End in March, as supply of the vaccines loosened up across the nation.
As March began, seniors over the age of 65 and some frontline workers were eligible to receive the vaccine in New York, but due to an earlier decision by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, only mass vaccination sites and pharmacies could vaccinate seniors. But by mid-March, pop-up clinics facilitated by local hospitals, a new state mass vaccination site at Stony Brook Southampton College, and the opening up of community vaccination sites at Suffolk County Community College to seniors helped to open the floodgates for older New Yorkers to receive vaccines here.
As of 8 a.m. March 30, anyone over the age of 30 is eligible to receive the vaccine in New York, along with people of any age with certain pre-existing conditions and a broad range of workers who interact with the public. Anyone age 16 and up will also be able to book a vaccination appointment as of April 6, the governor announced March 29.
As of March 29, 429,758 Suffolk County residents had received at least one shot, or 29 percent of the population, while 293,273 Suffolk residents were fully vaccinated.
For the week of March 22 to March 28, New York State received 1,565,080 first and second doses of the vaccines — a sixfold increase from mid-January, when the state was receiving around 250,000 doses per week and had just opened up eligibility to ages 65 and up.
Numerous vaccination clinics popped up on the East End throughout March. Stony Brook Medicine delivered thousands of vaccine doses to seniors at the Southold Recreation Center in Peconic throughout the month, and Riverhead seniors received 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine on March 5. At two clinics at the East Hampton Center for Humanities in Wainscott March 5 and 6, seniors received 1,200 doses and frontline workers received 340 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
East Hampton residents who wish to hear about future clinics can pre-register through the town’s new website: https://ehtownvaccine.org. Those who pre-register will be notified of potential clinics based on eligibility. Thousands of residents have registered to date.
Starting in April, Southold Town will be establishing a pool of volunteers to assist with the check-in process at potential upcoming vaccination clinics with Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital at the Southold Recreation Center.
Southold is seeking volunteers with good computer skills who can assist with registration using an iPad. Instruction will be provided to volunteers by Stony Brook staff prior to the assignment.
Vaccine clinic days can be long, but “volunteers would be providing a great service to the community,” say the organizers. Clinic volunteers will be coordinated through Southold Town Senior Services Director Karen McLaughlin and Southold Town Government Liaison Officer Denis Noncarrow. To offer your service, email Denis Noncarrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appointments at Southold’s clinics are made available on a rolling basis by visiting elih.stonybrookmedicine.edu/Coronavirus — if no appointments are available when you check the website, check back frequently, as new dates are being added continuously.
Stony Brook Southampton Hospital is also making vaccination clinic appointments available on a regular basis at southampton.stonybrookmedicine.edu/COVID19Vaccinations.
To make an appointment at any of the state mass vaccination sites, including the one at Stony Brook Southampton College, visit am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or call 1.833.NYS.4.VAX.
Northwell Health is also scheduling vaccination appointments throughout Long Island at www.northwell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are also adding vaccination appointments on a regular basis.
As of March 30, several eligible East Enders have told us they have been contacted by their primary care doctors telling them they can now receive the vaccine at their doctor’s office.