Hinchey, Ryan pushing feds for more vaccines
State Senator Michelle Hinchey and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan toured the vaccine distribution facility last week in Kingston.
State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan last week visited the Kate Walton Field House at Kingston High School, which currently serves as the primary vaccine point of distribution (POD) site in Ulster County. Once fully operational, the Kingston POD site will have the capacity to perform up to 45,000 COVID-19 vaccinations per month, ensuring that Ulster County residents are vaccinated in a rapid, safe, and equitable manner. Both leaders strongly urged the Federal and State government to speed up the production and delivery of vaccines to the Ulster County POD site and others across the region. Hinchey and Ryan also called on the State to send funding directly to counties and other partners operating these resource-intensive vaccination sites. The most recent federal relief package provided New York State with $1.6 billion in funding for vaccination and COVID response efforts and Hinchey and Ryan stressed the need for the state to disperse some of this funding to counties immediately.
“A speedy, equitable rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is critical to ensuring that New Yorkers are protected from the virus, and our upstate economy can reopen and recover from this public health emergency,” said Hinchey. “Ulster County has done a tremendous job assembling the local infrastructure to administer this vaccine as effectively as possible, and I commend County Executive Pat Ryan for his strong leadership on behalf of our Ulster communities. Mass vaccination at this scale is a major undertaking that requires a great deal of transparency, planning, and coordination at all levels of government. We want the state and the federal government to ramp up vaccine distribution so counties like Ulster can get the resources they need to slow the virus’s spread. ”
Hinchey continued, “At the same time, we need to prioritize equitable vaccine access in our rural areas where public health systems have long struggled with underfunding and a shortage of workers. There’s no getting through this crisis unless we’re all accounted for.”
“Counties have been on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic from Day One, and it is imperative that counties receive direct support now, especially as we ramp up our vaccination efforts,” Ryan said. “We need more relief from the state and federal governments so that we can continue to operate POD vaccination sites for our residents and meet the overwhelming demand. I want to thank Senator Hinchey for visiting our Kingston POD site and speaking up on this issue on behalf of our shared constituents. I am looking forward to continuing our work together to ensure we protect the health and safety of our residents.”
The COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed to New Yorkers based on need and risk as part of the state’s Phased Distribution Plan. The state’s vaccine eligibility pool recently expanded to include individuals 65 and older, first responders, teachers, and grocery store workers, among other groups identified under Phase 1b.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free to all New Yorkers and only those who meet the eligibility criteria can schedule an appointment at this time.