OLEAN — The Cattaraugus County Health Department opened a supplemental COVID-19 vaccine site Wednesday at the Olean Campus of Jamestown Community College to help speed the coronavirus vaccination program.

The vaccination clinic site in the Cutco Theater Building is open for those in the 1-A priority group and only by reservation.

Previously, only Olean General Hospital and University Primary Care, both on Main Street, were authorized to vaccinate people in the first priority group. Pharmacists from CVS and Walgreens are vaccinating residents and some staff at nursing home and long term care facilities.

It’s unclear just how fast the local rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is going, but Dr. Kevin Watkins, Cattaraugus County public health director, was critical of the pace on Monday. He was among those county health directors from across the state urging the state Department of Department to involve the counties in vaccination plans.

Shomita Steiner, who was directing the JCC vaccination site, said preregistration is required by those in the 1-A priority group only.

The vaccination clinic is open from 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“We have done regular flu vaccination clinics for years,” Steiner said as she walked from the registration desk, where identification is checked and the person is given a card directing them to a room to be vaccinated. There is also a time and date for a followup shot of the Moderna vaccine four weeks later. A consent form must also be signed.

After receiving the vaccine, people must wait for 15 minutes to make sure there is no adverse reaction.

“It takes some planning,” Steiner said. The clinic is staffed by health department staff including a nurse practitioner, EMTs and volunteers including nurses and retired staff.

Those getting the vaccine are advised of a CDC app, Be Safe Tracker, which is designed to follow any reactions to the vaccine.

To determine if you fall in priority group 1-A, go to the following link to determine your eligibility: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

Phase 1-A recipients include: healthcare personnel (i.e. paid and unpaid personnel working in a healthcare setting), first responders in medical roles such as emergency medical services providers, medical examiners and coroners, funeral workers, ambulatory care providers, and persons living in and working in long term care facilities including congregate settings overseen by Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, Office of Mental Health and Office of Addiction Service and Support.

Others in 1-A include: private medical practices, hospital-affiliated medical practices, public health clinics, specialty medical practices, dental practices. dialysis workers, diagnostic and treatment centers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, phlebotomists, behavioral health workers and student health workers.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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