More frontline, essential workers in New York are now eligible to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mohawk Valley Health System, tasked with distributing the vaccine locally, issued an update Monday on those who can now literally get in line for inoculation.

The initial doses (the first three weeks of the distribution) were tabbed for frontline healthcare workers, EMTs, medical examiners, coroners, funeral directors. But, citing NY State Department of Health information, the following are now also eligible, beginning 'Week 4', which started on Monday:

  • All Outpatient/Ambulatory front-line, high-risk health care workers of any age who provide direct in-person patient care, or other staff in a position in which they have direct contact with patients (i.e., intake staff), will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
    • This includes, but is not limited to, individuals who work in private medical practices; hospital-affiliated medical practices; public health clinics; specialty medical practices of all types; dental practices of all types; dialysis workers; diagnostic and treatment centers; occupational therapists; physical therapists; speech therapists; phlebotomists; behavioral health workers; and student health workers.
  • All front-line, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, those handling COVID-19 lab specimens and those directly engaged in COVID-19 vaccinations, will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine.

Additionally, beginning on 'Week 5', which is Monday, January 11, the vaccine will also be made available to home care workers (including those in the consumer directed programs), Hospice workers, and staff of nursing home/skilled nursing facilities who did not receive the vaccine in the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program.

MVHS officials noted: ''The Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) is part of the Mohawk Valley Regional Vaccination Network which covers six counties (Oneida, Herkimer, Otsego, Montgomery, Fulton, and Schoharie) and 10 hospitals: St. Luke’s and St. Elizabeth hospitals in Utica (MVHS), Rome Memorial Hospital, Bassett Healthcare in Cooperstown, Little Falls Hospital, A.O. Fox Hospital in Oneonta, Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville, Cobleskill Regional Hospital in Schoharie County, and two sites of St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam. Anyone meeting the NYSDOH criteria above and looking to receive a vaccine in one of these areas should take the following action:

  • Visit https://www.mvhealthsystem.org/vaccine-network for a list of locations in the six-county region (under Sites for Vaccine Clinics).
  • Click on the location where you would like to get the vaccine. This will bring you to a registration page.
  • Once registered, come to the vaccination POD on the day designated by your registration. You will need to show a badge or letter from your employer confirming where you work.

For those eligible to receive the vaccine in the Mohawk Valley, vaccination PODs are held seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at St. Elizabeth College of Nursing, 2215 Genesee Street in Utica. Officials say those eligible to receive the vaccine based on the above criteria are welcome to walk-in during those hours, but say you must bring proper identification, and that there may be a wait.

Earlier in the day Monday, Governor Cuomo threatened to fine hospitals across the state who hadn't used their first allotments of the vaccine by Friday.

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