OSWEGO, NY – Health care workers and first responders in Oswego County are starting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang, announced today.
Huang said that New York State set up 10 regional hubs to lead and coordinate activities with local hospitals and health care providers, who are providing vaccinations according to the priorities established by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People who are approved to receive the vaccine this week and next week include:
– Hospital-based health care workers
– Federally qualified health center-based health care workers
– Emergency Medical Services workers
– Medical examiners, coroners and funeral workers
– Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
– Residents and staff of congregate residential settings that serve vulnerable populations
The state is sending registration information to these agencies for people who are eligible for the vaccine.
In Oswego County, Oswego Health is administering the vaccine to hospital-based health care workers and first responders. As more vaccine becomes available, vaccination will expand to other groups and the general public.
Dr. Christina Liepke, Oswego County Medical Director, received her vaccination this morning at Oswego Hospital.
“I got vaccinated today because I feel like it’s safe and I want to help protect my patients, my family, my community and myself,” said Dr. Liepke. “We will keep everyone informed when the vaccine becomes available to the general public.”
County health officials said that many people have questions about the vaccine and the testing process.
“It’s important to keep in mind that the FDA and New York State have both reviewed the testing data and concluded that the vaccines are safe and effective in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Huang. “CDC and the FDA are monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.”
He added, “It’s exciting to know that the vaccine is becoming available in New York State, but we must all remain diligent and continue to wear masks, wash our hands frequently, and avoid gathering with groups of people. It takes time to build up herd immunity. Before most of us become immune to the virus, we need to keep practicing our preventive measures.”
In addition to the growing number of people in Oswego County who are becoming infected with the coronavirus, Huang said that Oswego County has received lab confirmation of the first case of a patient with both COVID-19 and influenza.
“The flu has been in our county for some weeks now,” said Huang. “I want to remind residents to get their flu shot. It’s more important than ever and it’s not too late. Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out, but it will take months to get it to the general public. The flu vaccine is available now, so please, take advantage of it and get your flu shot to protect you from the disease or alleviate the severity of its symptoms.”
Flu shots are available at area pharmacies, health care providers and through the Oswego County Health Department. The Health Department offers flu vaccinations, including high-dose flu shots, at the Nick Sterio Public Health Clinic, 70 Bunner St., Oswego. Vaccines are available by appointment Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m. Call (315) 349-3547 to schedule an appointment.
People who have questions about COVID-19 may call the Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330. The hotline will be closed Christmas Day. Otherwise, it is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional information is posted on the health department’s COVID-19 page at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19.