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Eligibility for vaccine out numbers the number of doses being supplied

FONDA — Thousands of people who are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination should not expect to get the vaccine any time soon due to a shortage of the vaccine, said Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort during a live update on Facebook.

In the live update Thursday, he said the state is only getting 300,000 vaccinations a week. He explained that the number is determined by the federal government; then given to the state, which is then responsible for distributing those vaccines. Ossenfort said the 300,000 vaccines the state is receiving is not enough to meet the capacity of those who are eligible for the vaccine.

“The local health departments, the hospitals, the Office for the Aging, not only in Montgomery County, but throughout the region and state have experienced an overwhelming amount of calls and interests in getting the vaccine, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing in itself, but the problem is eligible doesn’t necessarily mean available,” Ossenfort said. “The supply just isn’t there.”

He added that at the rate that the vaccine is being distributed, it would take almost all year to just complete Phase 1B which opened on Jan. 8. Phase 1A also has yet to be completed.

To help with the high demand of those who are interested and eligible in getting the vaccine, and to answer questions anyone might have, the county is starting a COVID-19 Vaccine Wait List Hotline at (518) 853-8247 that will be open during business hours, and will allow people to leave messages as well.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to speak to a human and give the answers to questions they may have, “Ossenfort said.

“[We’re] doing the hotline to reduce the burden from the health department, hospital and Office for the Aging,” he added.

Ossenfort said it also gives an alternative option for those who may not have internet access or just want to speak to “a human.”

The county has created a list of people who would like to take the vaccine from the survey conducted, and as the vaccines come in they will work their way down the list to have people register to get the vaccine.

Once the vaccine becomes available, there will be plenty of places to get it, such as pharmacies, Ossenfort said.

If there are spaces open in other counties, Ossenfort said for Montgomery County residents to register to get the vaccines in one of those counties.

“I would say if you’re someone who’s mobile, say you’re a frontline worker, and you can go somewhere else to get it, I say go for it,” Ossenfort said. “There’s going to be multiple ways you can get it. The county will get more vaccines, but I suggest it can’t hurt to get on our list, and if you get it at the hospital or you end up getting it somewhere else, then that’s fine.”

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