ALBANY — The county has set up a way for people who are eligible to get vaccinated to pre-register.
A link to pre-register site can be found here.
It is only for those who are categorized in Phase IA and IB — health care workers, first responders, education and childcare workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and homeless shelter workers.
It does allow those 65 and older and those with a qualifying underlying medical condition like asthma, cancer and a host of other conditions including if you are obese or smoke, to register, but they are not eligible for vaccination until Feb. 15, as per a state directive.
“No more hunger games, people,” County Executive Dan McCoy said during a press briefing on Wednesday. “The biggest complaint is people fight to get online, the pods fill up quickly and they are boxed out. This way with our website, you can pre-register and when we get to that category you will be notified via text or email that you are taken care of.”
He said people can sign up and still look for a quicker shot at different locations but at least by pre-registering people can know they will have a spot reserved. The time frame between registering and the actual date of vaccination is not known.
“It may take two weeks, it may take three weeks it may take a week,” McCoy said, referencing a number of parts that move around daily, or even hourly, depending on decision handed down by the federal and state governments. “But you are guaranteed a spot when we get to that category.”
Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the county Health Department, said the demand of vaccine currently far exceeds the supply.
“We continue to work with the strategy to get the most vaccine out in the shortest amount of time,” she said. “We are able to get as much vaccine out as we get, every single time.”
On Thursday, she said, there will be 1,100 1B workers getting their first shot at the Times Union Center POD and another 500 getting their second shot.
The federal government releases a certain amount of vaccination to the states which then doles it out to the counties. Beginning next week, on Feb. 15, those older than 65 and those with underlying health conditions are eligible.
“We don’t know what supply we will get. We are hopeful, what we are hearing from the federal and state we will get an increased supply,” she said. “We are asking people for patience at this juncture.”
Generally, the counties know how much vaccine they will have on Sunday. Albany County opens up registration for a spot at the Times Union Center POD on Tuesday and the slots fill up within a half hour, Whalen said.
Anyone with questions can call the state hotline at 1-833-697-4829, the United Way hotline at 2-1-1 or visit the state or county website.
Meanwhile, there were 87 new cases in Albany County from Tuesday to Wednesday bringing the total to 19,275 since the pandemic began in March, 2020.
As of Wednesday, there were 18,407 people who tested positive and recovered, an increase of 159 since Tuesday.
There were eight new hospitalizations overnight, a net decrease of two for a total of 97 county residents currently hospitalized.
There was one death from Tuesday to Wednesday — a woman in her 70s — bringing the death toll to 336 county residents.