NEWBURGH – The Orange County Health department partnered with Montefiore St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital and SUNY Orange to provide approximately 1,170 residents with Pfizer COVID vaccinations on Friday.
The county had already provided approximately 3,000 Moderna vaccines in Goshen and Middletown prior to Friday. The vaccination service areas they call “pods” have been set up weekly at different locations in an attempted to cover the Newburgh area’s Yellow Zone.
County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman explained how the vaccination rollout is happening within the county and said they have been able to distribute them very efficiently as they are received.
“We have individuals checking the New York State vaccination line, just in case there are appointments that are available within New York State that may be earlier than some of our pods, but typically, our pods are Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we vaccinate as many vaccines as we get in,” said Gelman. “Thus far, every single dose of vaccine that we have gotten in we were able to push out and get it to the public, in the arms of our residents within 24-48 hours,” she said.
County Executive Steve Neuhaus credited county workers and medical professionals for the efficiency of the vaccine distribution and likened it to a military operation, a part of his Naval background that has been useful for leading the inoculation initiative and informed the operation of the pods.
“We definitely run this like a military operation. You have to,” said Neuhaus. “The hospitals and the healthcare providers in the county really have trained like this. It’s definitely my sweet spot, but I definitely see all the staff and volunteers have been trained in this type of concept to set up these, what we call pods,” he said.
As of Friday, the county officials are continuing to expect weekly shipments and have been informed that Johnson and Johnson will also begin shipping out vaccines next week.