Another historic day in the battle to beat COVID-19, as MVHS employees on Wednesday will begin receiving their second dose of the vaccine, three weeks after their first. Bill Beevers, of Utica, has a life-threatening lung disease. He awaits his first vaccine.
"If I get COVID, chances are very good I will die," said the 78-year-old, adding that he has many questions, but few answers, about how the vaccine will make its way to his arm. "I hear rumors. I hear very loose pieces of information. Maybe it'll be drug companies, maybe it'll be public health groups, maybe it'll be hospitals."
MVHS, the vaccine hub for Oneida County, says they've vaccinated the vast majority of their staff who work directly with patients, and have begun vaccinating outside health professionals, including doctors' offices and medical groups. Their website provides a phone number, 315.624.4124, where their CEO provides updates about eligibility. MVHS says they won't be vaccinating the general public, which they say has its own hierarchy, for about a month, and that they plan to get out in the community to let people know when it's their turn, and make sure no one falls through the cracks.
"We're working with local facilities, local entitites, be they churches, be they community centers, to get the word out especially to the more disadvantaged in the population because those are the ones that we really want to make sure we're hitting hard," says Dr. Kent Hall, MVHS Chief Physician Executive. Hall adds that MVHS is in regular contact with the county health department regarding vaccinations, and will likely partner with them for the herculean task of vaccinating the general public.
Governor Cuomo, on Monday, said that the state will fine hospitals up to $100,000 if they don't use their allotment of vaccines by the end of the week.
"So we're certainly working toward that. I can't make a guarantee we will or will not, but we're certainly working toward it," said Dr. Hall.
For a list of who is eligible and when, as well as information on scheduling an appointment, click here.