More than 10 million New Yorkers are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, however, last week the state only received around 320,600 doses from the federal government.
The lack of supply is causing frustration at almost every level of government.
"It's a precious resource. Everyone wants it," Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a press conference Wednesday.
Yet, many county executives said they feel sidelined in the distribution process.
Every Sunday, county executives are informed how many doses they will receive for that week and then usually, the doses are delivered on Tuesday.
However, this week’s shipment has been delayed due to bad weather, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said, forcing many vaccine clinics across the state to cancel appoinments.
“We don’t have them in the building right now,” McLaughlin said. “There are no shots for our POD this week."
Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says, given the opportunity, they could inoculate as many as a 1,000 people a day.
“I have to wait for the weekend to find out what my allotment is going to be for the week,” Picente said. “Yet the state sites are open seven days. So they know what they are getting, but we don’t know what we’re getting.”
These state-run mass vaccination sites are open seven days a week, and on average, administer 1,000 shots a day.
County executives said they have been receiving fewer doses since these state-run sites have opened, pulling away allotted doses meant for counties.
Although relieved that people are receiving these shots, many county executives worry that these doses being directed to state-run sites are being pulled away from county-run sites that could potentially better target at-risk communities.
“The state cannibalized the supply and said we’re going to take it in to a mass vaccine site,” McLaughlin said. “That took it away from what would have been and should have been the county PODs. It also makes no sense to have seniors running around the state of New York all winter long driving hundreds of miles each way to get a shot.”
Cuomo held a call with county executives from around the state on Tuesday to address some of the challenges with vaccine distribution.
After the call, Picente said they did receive data they had been requesting for over a month on how many county residents have received vaccine doses at these state-run sites.
“We can evaluate what communities by zip code are responding and getting it so then I can target those areas that I don’t see on the map,” Picente explained.
Oneida County is also one of a handful of counties right now that has a pre-registration site that allows people to fill out the paperwork necessary to receive a vaccine ahead of time.