Picente Pushes Vaccination Distribution Forward

In an effort to push forward COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts within Oneida County, County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. is hiring workers to vaccinate more residents while urging Governor Cuomo to speed up the process and remove barriers.

“Urgency is essential at this crucial point in our battle with this pandemic that has crippled our community for far too long,” Picente said. “With cases continuing to rise and hospitals struggling to maintain care, we need to be getting shots in arms as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our Health Department, which is trained and tested in vaccination distribution, is best equipped to handle this. We are moving forward with our efforts and stand ready to do even more when the state removes the barriers holding us back.”

On Wednesday, the Oneida County Board of Legislators unanimously passed Picente’s request to allocate $2.6 million to hire temporary workers to vaccinate residents at points of distribution set up by the county.

“The biggest game-changer in terms of a pandemic is a vaccine,” said Board Chairman Gerald J. Fiorini, R-7, Rome. “While we are thrilled to have vaccinations on hand and to provide them to our residents, it will take some time to vaccinate enough people to see the full impact. We have to continue doing our part to prevent the spread.”

While the State of New York ordered local hospital systems to administer the first round of vaccinations to their staff and others eligible in the 1a grouping, Picente has taken action to move the process along by opening the county’s own distribution site earlier this week. He also sent a letter to Governor Cuomo on Wednesday urging him to work with counties to speed up the process and allow the county to do more.

In his letter, Picente called on the governor to immediately move to phase 1b of distribution, which would include, in addition to everyone in phase 1a, a wide variety of people including law enforcement and other first responders, teachers, 911 dispatchers and people over the age of 75.

The county opened a point of distribution site at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica on Tuesday to people in the 1a vaccination group only. It is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Picente said the county expects to have distributed 1,000 of the 3,000 doses it received from the state by this weekend.

Those interested in applying for available county vaccination positions can apply here