Under the direction of Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, the County’s Health Department in collaboration with its Medical Reserve Corps Unit (MRC), the Department of Emergency Services and local medical providers administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination to frontline healthcare and EMS workers on Wednesday, Jan. 6.
“We had been planning a Point of Distribution (POD) at the Emergency Services Center and when the vaccine finally arrived, we were able to get it to frontline healthcare workers the next day,” Neuhaus said. “The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step in providing protection first to the county’s frontline healthcare workers and hopefully sooner than later to all our residents who need or want the vaccine.”
Added Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman: “Protecting our frontline healthcare workers from the spread of COVID-19 is imperative, and we are proud to help ensure that they can continue to perform their inspirational work.”
Approximately 800 workers received the vaccine at a Point of Distribution (POD) at the County’s Emergency Services Center. Orange County partnered with two major medical providers, Horizon Family Medical Group and Middletown Medical, to distribute the vaccine.
Both facilities not only had many of their own employees vaccinated; but were also on standby to assist with any medical concerns during the vaccination process. Volunteers from the county, the MRC and other organizations were on hand as well.
“Horizon has been actively engaged in COVID-19 testing for EMS workers in partnership with the County,” Horizon CEO Jim Olver said. “We are pleased that so many of our frontline doctors and staff who provide daily care to thousands of Orange County residents received the vaccine. We look forward to working with the County to continue to serve the healthcare needs of our patients and any other resident of the community who needs our assistance.”
New York State is currently in Phase 1A of the vaccination distribution, which includes high-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff and Pulmonary Department staff), residents and staff at nursing homes and other congregate care facilities, EMS workers, coroners, medical examiners and certain funeral workers, Urgent Care providers, individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staffs, dentists and orthodontists and their staffs, psychiatrists and psychologists and their staffs, physical therapists and their staffs, optometrists and their staffs and pharmacists and pharmacy aides.
“Our message is that the vaccine is safe; that our heroes, the frontline healthcare workers who fought in the trenches during COVID’s worst moments are getting vaccinated,” Neuhaus said. “I will receive the vaccination when I am eligible, and I encourage residents to do so when they have access to the vaccine.”