By County Executive Ed Day

Has this ever happened to you? You’re out for a walk on a nice day and a car pulls up next to you asking for directions back to the highway or to a local restaurant. You’re happy to help and set them on the right path if you know the way. Well right now we are dealing with this same level of confusion all across New York State when it comes to where people can get vaccinated.

And just like in the hypothetical scenario above I’m going to do my best to provide you with the right directions. We are still hearing so much confusion over where eligible folks are allowed to get vaccinated. Here is the list of which types of locations can vaccinate which eligible groups under the Governor’s Executive Orders and the New York State Department of Health guidance:

  • Hospitals are open to all populations eligible for vaccination, prioritizing all Phase 1A individuals who are not employed at the hospital, and residents and staff of congregate settings operated or certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), then individuals age 65 and older.
  • Retail pharmacies or physician network or practice groups, after vaccinating their own patient-facing staff, should only vaccinate persons aged 65 years or older.
  • Local Health Departments (LHDs) must continue to prioritize the essential worker population in Phase 1B, and residents and staff of congregate settings operated or certified by the OPWDD. In addition, LHDs will be vaccinating newly eligible individuals with comorbidities and underlying health conditions.

NOTE: Appointments for vaccinations at any location must be made directly through them. And for those eligible to be vaccinated at our Health Department, whenever we receive our vaccine allocation from New York State, information about registering for appointments will be posted to our COVID-19 page here:

To be completely clear, I agree with you all that these rules are confusing, and it does not help when they change day-to-day or hour-by-hour. But we have very little local control. As I’ve said before, you do not win a war from a bunker in Albany and have your troops and your field generals 200, 300 miles away. It is doomed to failure, and it’s one of the reasons why we’re having such difficulty in trying to get people vaccinated and keep everyone informed.

The good news is, we are making progress. According to data from New York State through last weekend, 10.64% of our County population has received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. NY has pledged to send this number regularly and as I promised last week, we have added it to our public Dashboards. You can see the latest info here:

Additionally, we have requested a zip code level breakdown of this data to help inform our outreach and communication efforts. But the increases we are seeing in the number of people getting vaccinated speaks to the power of your voices and advocacy. Weeks ago, when we received a mere 200 doses of vaccine you helped us raise an outcry that was heard loud and clear in Albany.

Thanks to our work, Rockland County as a whole has been receiving at least 2,500 doses of vaccine the last three weeks and our expectation is that this level of allocation will continue. You can see the latest locations receiving vaccine here in Rockland by visiting our Vaccine Allocation page here:

While we are making real progress, it is still going to take time to get everyone vaccinated and I continue to ask for your patience as we navigate these confusing directions together. Together we will get through this as we have with each and every crisis we have faced. Thank you.