The percentage of residents in Putnam County who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is one the rise.
With the Putnam County Health Department having held 23 vaccination clinics as of last week, the New York State Immunization Information System shows more than 26 percent of residents have been given a shot in the arm.
Last week, New Yorkers 60 years of age an older joined the vaccine eligibility list, and on March 17, the list expanded to include those non-profit workers, public employees, and essential in-person building service workers who provide public-facing services. Starting Tuesday, New Yorkers as young as 50 will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“What we have achieved so far would have been unthinkable a year ago,” said Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, who recently received her vaccination and urged others to do the same when it’s their turn.
“For months, our men and women in the highway department, the department of motor vehicles and other public arenas have been asked to stand-by and wait their turn,” Odell said. “Our public facing workers deserve to be prioritized and we are thankful the state has finally permitted our local health department to vaccinate them. Putnam County is ready to do what it takes to put this pandemic behind us.”
Putnam officials stressed the county has the capacity to vaccinate more residents than its weekly allotment of the three vaccines that are being distributed.
“Putnam County is ready to do what it takes to put this pandemic behind us,” said Health Commissioner Michael Nesheiwat, MD. ““In order for this plan to work, it is crucial for these travelers to continue to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and to self-isolate if symptoms occur.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new plans, starting April 1, that would eliminate all quarantine requirements for domestic travelers to New York, lifting the executive order he directed nine months ago.
Until April 1, the state Health Department guidance from March 10 remains in effect. This guidance allows fully vaccinated individuals to avoid quarantine after travelling to New York from out of state. Fully vaccinated individuals must have received their final shot no more than three months prior to their return to New York. The state also allows those who were sick with COVID, but have fully recovered, to avoid quarantine if they are exposed again during the three-month period following recovery.
Nesheiwat reminded people that wearing a mask in public whether one is fully vaccinated or not, remains important, even as the Center for Disease Control last week relaxed rules for those fully vaccinated socializing indoors with others also fully vaccinated.
“Fully vaccinated means two weeks has passed since your single-dose shot or since your last dose of a two-dose series,” Nesheiwat explained. “This is because it can take about two weeks for COVID fighting antibodies to offer maximum protection.”
“One thing we are quite certain of,” Nesheiwat added, “is how highly effective the current vaccines are at preventing severe COVID which helps tremendously with hospitalization rates and fatalities. We just can’t let up quite yet.”