I'm eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in New York State. Now what?

Posted at 4:40 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 18:11:18-05

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — “I’m just frustrated,” Joyce Martell of Pendleton said.

At 78-years-old, Martell is among the latest group to qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine based on her age. But getting an appointment has proved to be impossible.

“I don’t even mind waiting to get it. It’s just the information is not there,” she said.

According to Martell, after going to the state’s website and checking the list of participating pharmacies, she had to contact each one individually to no avail.

“None of the places have it. Or, there’s no way to sign up to get it.”

Once you fill out the state's form, you still have to do your due diligence, and check back with the listed pharmacies for availability. Currently, it doesn't appear the state will take that information and notify you if an appointment in your area becomes available. We have reached out to the state for clarification, and are waiting to hear back.

“It’s confusing to everybody. Whether you’re 25 or 65, it’s confusing,” said Niagara County Public Health Director Dan Stapleton.

Reporter Ali Touhey: What are these people who are here being vaccinated doing differently than Joyce in Pendleton?
Stapleton: They are 1a and they pre-registered last week, and they signed up through the county website.

Stapleton also said pharmacies have only begun to receive shipments. So, the state may have listed them prematurely. As for Niagara County’s vaccinations, it isn’t taking anymore appointments this week. Stapleton said they will be registering all of 1a and 1b beginning Monday morning on the Niagara County website. He is advising those who qualify to register early because this week’s appointments were gone in a matter of hours.

“We filled up about 900 spots in about six hours.”

“I just feel like the government should be doing better with this rollout. If they’re going to roll it out, then they should have everything in line instead of sitting online, trying to get online, trying to figure out where we can go get a shot,” added Martell.