The unvaccinated and the shots

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 4/14/21

MONTICELLO, NY — The county has made a massive push to get out accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. But there are still people out there who might want a shot but can’t get to …

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The unvaccinated and the shots

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MONTICELLO, NY — The county has made a massive push to get out accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines. But there are still people out there who might want a shot but can’t get to one. Or who, for a variety of reasons, haven’t gotten it yet.

Almost 29 percent of the county has had at least one shot, legislative chairman Rob Doherty said, which leaves plenty of adults who haven’t. 

Consider those who are homebound. You’re considered homebound if you don’t have access to transportation (so can’t get to a clinic) or if you have limited mobility, public health director Nancy McGraw said last Thursday at the Health and Family Services meeting. The county’s working on identifying the homebound and then getting them a shot. 

And consider the hesitant.

Lori James, co-chair, with Bill Liblick, of the county’s new vaccine task force, has spent the last three weeks connecting people with vaccines and fielding calls at 2 a.m. “We’re very, very pleased with the response we’re getting,” she said. Of people over 18, “everyone who has come to us has received a vaccine.”

Communication is critical, she said, “but the big issue is who is willing to take the vaccine.” 

They concentrate on finding out why people are hesitant and then educating them.

Working with places of worship has been helpful, too. “Vaccines from the pulpit,” she said. They’ve worked with Pastor Ryan Tinsley in Monticello, for instance. And outreach means involving organizations like the NAACP and Cornell Cooperative Extension, and of course community libraries and school districts. 

There’s still work to be done; after all, the task force hasn’t even been around a month yet. They want to focus on communicating with the homebound, people of different races, from different countries and those who are leery of government-run facilities. Legislator Luis Alvarez talked about the importance of communication among people of similar ethinic backgrounds; it goes beyond spoken language to simply trusting someone with the same heritage more. 

She thanked Rick Sauer, commissioner of public safety, for his help, multiple other county staff, without whom the job could not be done, and the legislature. “You’ve all been great. This county legislature has really come together fully” on this, James said. 

The task force can be found on Facebook @SullivanCountyCovidTaskForce. 

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