By Connor Linskey
The first round of COVID-19 vaccines in Orange County were administered last Wednesday. More thsan 800 people received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Orange County Emergency Services Center in Goshen as part of Phase 1a.
Those eligible to receive the vaccine included healthcare workers, residents and staff at nursing homes, dentists, psychologists and staff at ambulatory centers. Medical staff from the Orange County Department of Health, Middletown Medical and Horizon Family Medical Group provided the vaccine in tents outside.
“People are excited, emotional,” Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said last Wednesday. “People have been hugging me, crying. Some of them have lost loved ones, a lot of them are hospital workers.”
Many people were excited on Wednesday to get the vaccine.
“It feels very good to get it,” said Brenda D’Angelo. “I’m able to protect my family and co-workers.”
After receiving the vaccine, she felt relieved, as the experience went smoothly.
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that teachers, police, firefighters and people over the age of 75 would be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as early as Monday as part of Phase 1b. He noted that people in Phase1a will be given priority and those in Phase 1b will likely have to wait weeks to months for their first shots due to a limited number of doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Cuomo chose to expand those eligible for the vaccine because of the increasing infection and hospitalization rates in New York State.
“I’m telling you we are in a danger zone,” he said in his briefing Friday. “The infection rate is going up quickly. The faster the infection rate goes up, the faster the hospitalization rate goes up, the hospitalization rate goes up, the hospitals reach capacity. Hospitals reach capacity, economy shuts down.”
In addition, there is a new COVID-19 strain that originated in the United Kingdom, which has spread to New York State. As of Friday, there was one case reported in New York and several other states had been affected.
“I’ve spoken to global experts, UK experts,” Cuomo said on Friday. “This is the Usain Bolt of infection rates...It took over the UK in three weeks.”