Under the direction of Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, the County’s Health Department in collaboration with its Medical Reserve Corps Unit (MRC), the Department of Emergency Services and local medical providers administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination to frontline healthcare and EMS workers on Wed., Jan. 6.
“We had been planning a Point of Distribution (POD) at the Emergency Services Center and when the vaccine finally arrived, we were able to get it to frontline healthcare workers the next day,” Neuhaus said. “The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in providing protection first to the County’s frontline healthcare workers and hopefully sooner than later to all our residents who need or want the vaccine. I’m grateful to and very proud of our team for putting the POD together so quickly and efficiently.”
Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman said, “County Executive Neuhaus, the County’s Health and Emergency Services Departments and our partners worked diligently to make this happen as smoothly and quickly as possible. Protecting our frontline healthcare workers from the spread of COVID-19 is imperative, and we are proud to help ensure that they can continue to perform their inspirational work.”
Approximately 800 workers received the vaccine at a Point of Distribution (POD) at the County’s Emergency Services Center. Orange County partnered with two major medical providers, Horizon Family Medical Group and Middletown Medical to distribute the vaccine. Both facilities not only had many of their own employees vaccinated; but were also on standby to assist with any medical concerns during the vaccination process. Volunteers from the County, the MRC and other organizations were on hand as well.
New York State is currently in Phase 1A of the vaccination distribution, which includes high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities, EMS workers, coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers, Urgent Care providers, individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staffs, dentists and orthodontists and their staffs, psychiatrists and psychologists and their staffs, physical therapists and their staffs, optometrists and their staffs, and pharmacists and pharmacy aides.
The date of the next phase, called phase 1B, has not yet been announced by the State.
“Our message is that the vaccine is safe; that our heroes, the frontline healthcare workers who fought in the trenches during COVID’s worst moments are getting vaccinated,” Neuhaus said. “I will receive the vaccination when I am eligible, and I encourage residents to do so when they have access to the vaccine.”
Mary Pat Bailey (left), a RN with Horizon Family Medical Group, administers a vaccine to Dental Assistant Kristy Castro of Pine Bush, NY.