East End Lawmakers Decry “Chaotic” Covid Vaccine Roll-Out

The new Covid-19 vaccination distribution system is “virtually non-existent” on the East End, say 17 elected officials, who sent a letter requesting a network of distribution sites on the East End to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on Thursday.

South Fork State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele’s office sent the letter, which was signed by North Fork Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio and State Senator Anthony Palumbo, along with the town supervisors of the five East End towns and the mayors of the villages of Dering Harbor, East Hampton, Sagaponack, Quogue, Sag Harbor, North Haven, Westhampton Beach and West Hampton Dunes.

Below is the full text of the letter:

Dear Governor Cuomo and County Executive Bellone:

We write you today as the elected representatives of Suffolk County’s five East End Towns and their Incorporated Villages with regard to the Covid-19 vaccine distribution program. We recognize the difficulties inherent in implementing such a massive endeavor. We also recognize that not all aspects of the vaccine distribution program are within your control.

The current problems with the vaccine program are well-chronicled in the Newsday editorial, “New York’s Chaotic Vaccine Rollout,” dated January 12, 2021, which we have attached to our letter.

We wish to focus your attention specifically on the East End of Long Island. The five East End towns have seen their population swell to summertime levels since the advent of the pandemic as residents have fled from urban areas to the safety of the more rural East End. We also note that our region pays 45% of the general fund property taxes to Suffolk County. We have been inundated with complaints from frustrated constituents about vaccine distribution and the lack of East End locations.

The vaccine distribution system on the East End, with the new, expanded eligibility categories is virtually non-existent. Our residents, particularly senior citizens, cannot be expected to drive an hour or more to places such as Brentwood, Jones Beach, or Stony Brook to get the vaccine. While we have submitted many locations in our communities for consideration for the distribution of the vaccine, those suggestions have been ignored.

We recognize that, at this time, there is not enough vaccine available to meet the demand. However, when that vaccine becomes available, the East End must get its fair share. We want to be part of your solution. Our request is simple — work with us now to establish a network of distribution sites across the East End to provide for the convenient distribution of the vaccine to our mutual constituents, as it becomes available.

Time is of the essence. We await your response.

Sinceerely,

Fred W. Thiele, Jr., NYS Assemblyman
Anthony H. Palumbo, NYS Senator
Jodi Giglio, NYS Assemblywoman
Gerard F. Siller, Town of Shelter Island Supervisor
Patrick Purcells, Village of Dering Harbor Mayor
Scott Russell, Town of Southold Supervisor
Jerry Larsen, Village of East Hampton Mayor
Donald Louchheim, Village of Sagaponack Mayor
Peter Sartorius, Village of Quogue Mayor
Kathleen Mulcahy, Village of Sag Harbor Mayor
Jeffrey Sander, Village of North Haven Mayor
Dianne Skilbred, Village of North Haven Deputy Mayor
Maria Z. Moore, Village of Westhampton Beach Mayor
Gary Vegliante, Village of West Hampton Dunes Mayor
Peter Van Scoyoc, Town of East Hampton Supervisor
Jay Schneiderman, Town of Southampton Supervisor
Yvette Aguar, Town of Riverhead Supervisor

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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