One of the first people to receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Newark Wayne Community Hospital last week was John Paddock of Clyde.
John, who is 78, was recently deemed eligible for the vaccine. He had not yet been able to get an appointment for the vaccine, but was part of a lottery offered by Rochester Regional Health to its patients.
John received his shot at a drive-through event on the Newark Wayne Community Hospital campus.
Where a tent has been set up last year for drive-through testing, RRH felt that option was not working. The tents would blow over, and the staff was not protected from the elements. That was when a supplier was found for stand-alone pods (like a small car wash). These are now being used at Unity Hospital, Geneva RRH site, Batavia, and Newark Wayne.
According to Stephanie Dodd, Director of Nursing for Rochester Regional Health, these portable buildings are also being used for COVID-19 testing (for those with doctor’s orders).
John Paddock admitted that the COVID vaccine shot he received was “no worse and no better” than any other shot he has ever received. A plus for those chosen in the random vaccine event were also given immediate dates for their second shots (John’s is set for February 10, 2021). John is retired, having worked for 13 years for the Wayne County Highway Dept. He has been staying home and safe during the pandemic. He lost his wife of 42 years Gloria in February 2020 (not to COVID), but admits that 2020 was a very sad year.
Ralph Jurgens of Ontario, who will be 75 in June, had called last week to find out how to get an appointment for his vaccine. “I called Public Health and the NY State line, but the recording said that all lines were busy, due to an overwhelming volume of calls. He did not get through, and hung up, only to receive a call... 10 minutes later... from RRH that he had been randomly selected for the vaccine. It was just a lucky coincidence. “It was a great way to get it (the vaccine) by going into a drive thru. It felt safe,” Ralph said. His wife, who is 74, has not yet gotten her shot. We have been staying safe with masks and we don’t go out a lot,” Ralph admitted, and he said they will continue to practice safety and distancing.
“By randomly selecting patients from the eligible age group, we are ensuring fair and equal access,” explained Stephanie Dodd, RN, Director of Nursing for Rochester Regional Health. “It also makes it easier for patients. If you go to a primary care practice owned by or affiliated with Rochester Regional Health and you are in the eligible age group, someone from our central office will call you when the vaccine is available to you and help make your appointment.”
Last week, Newark Wayne Community Hospital hosted two clinics, which vaccinated about 100 patients.
RRH will be contacting patients when more supplies are available.
• The vaccine is free, applies to ambulatory patients only, not hospitalized patients. Because vaccine supplies remain limited, to ensure equitable access, patients are being chosen in a randomized fashion.
Those patients newly eligible are part of Phase 1B prioritization guidelines directed by the NYS Department of Health. At this time, RRH will not be reaching out to any of their patients who are not 75+ but are Phase 1B eligible, including educators, first responders, public safety workers, and public transit workers. These additional populations are encouraged to visit the NYS website to schedule an appointment for an upcoming community clinic. RRH is participating in the community clinics, which are coordinated in partnership with the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub.
Per the latest guidance from New York State, Rochester Regional Health will expand this process to include patients age 65 years and older beginning next week. Patients in this age group are part of Phase 1B in the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) prioritization guidelines. Community members who are not enrolled with a Rochester Regional Health owned or affiliated primary care practice, and/or are younger than 65, but are still eligible under Phase 1B for other reasons (including educators, first responders, public safety workers and public transit workers). If you think you may be eligible, call the New York State vaccination hotline at 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829) or use the New York State “Am I Eligible?” app.
Based on new guidance from the NYS DOH, starting next week, RRH will expand their efforts to include patients who are 65 and older and enrolled with a primary care practice owned by or affiliated with Rochester Regional Health. Their process will remain the same...eligible patients are selected at random and called by their central team to make a vaccination appointment. If you are 65 or older and your primary care practice is owned by or affiliated with Rochester Regional Health, the team will call you when your vaccine is available, and set your appointment on the same call.