Cuomo now blotching vaccination distribution

From: Razz (RAZZMAN)18 Feb 2021 09:04
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 1 of 11
Consider yourself extremely lucky that you have an appointment to get your vaccine.

This is turning out to be a very bad year for Governor Cuomo. First the revelation that he deliberately withheld information about nursing home deaths. Now Cuomo is the center of the vaccine distribution mess. It is completely unorganized and people are spending hours searching for where they can get vaccinated in vain. New York State is receiving the Covid vaccines from the federal government, even though it definitely isn't enough for a quick fix. However, the state is completely unorganized in the distribution. It's like a dog chasing after its own tail.

There are many who desperately need to get vaccinated, like the elderly and the ones with underlying conditions (like me) who won't be able to get the shot until maybe in the summer, if then. I did see there is a site in Potsdam, NY that is accepting appointments. That's in the NE corner of the state, east of the Adirondacks. Cuomo gets failing marks for setting up an organized system to distribute the vaccines.

 Why it's so hard to sign up for Covid vaccine – and why it won't get easier anytime soon

    Thomas J. Prohaska Feb 18, 2021

Western New Yorkers spending hours prowling state, county and drugstore websites in search of an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccination might wish that there were a single website that offered a chance to book any possible source for the vaccine.

It's not likely to happen, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said this week. And local information technology experts agree with him.

"It wouldn't have been as heavy a lift if that had been the vision from the beginning. That train left the station a couple of months ago," said Natalie Simpson, chair of the operations management faculty at the University at Buffalo.

Quoting what he believes to be the public's wish, Cuomo said during his news conference Monday, "Let me have one site where I can go to find out where I can get a vaccine in Buffalo."

"That's not how the system was set up from day one. That's what creates the confusion," Cuomo said.

"The scale of the problem is only surpassed by the seriousness of the scope. If you do this wrong, it would be a disaster," said Alan Katerinsky, UB professor of management science and systems.

"To vaccinate the entire human population inside of New York State, we have a fleet of different health care providers who are working together for the first time in history," UB's Simpson said. "Better to let, for instance, the chain pharmacies use their own systems than to create one new system to bind them all that might not work. That was probably their philosophy at the time."

Thus, people are sentenced to spend hours checking the state and county websites, and the sites of as many drugstore chains and independent pharmacies, as their level of patience will permit.

"We ask that people remain patient and diligent with our site, as we remain at the mercy of the state allocation each week," Tops markets spokeswoman Kathleen A. Sautter said.

Ruth Ngwu, a pharmacist at Middleport Family Health Center, said one way the state could improve the system is by being more open about who does and does not have any doses available and when they will be.

"That would help them to know when to check on the pharmacy's website and reduce the volume of calls we get each day for the vaccine,” she said.

Monday, Cuomo displayed a slide that showed 13 different shipment routes for vaccine: from the federal government to state and local agencies and locations, including pharmacies; from the state to local agencies and locations, many of which are the same ones the federal government is servicing; and from local governments to pharmacies and other community sites.

"We need better coordination between the federal government and the state government so we know what pharmacies they're sending to, (so) we don't send to the same ones, local government doesn't send to the same pharmacies," Cuomo said. "So if the federal government is sending to CVS, then I wouldn't send to CVS."

The National Governors Association, which Cuomo chairs, sent a letter Monday to President Biden, asking for improved coordination so the states know the sites to which federal government is sending vaccine directly, whether they are drugstores or community centers.

"We also know the need in the respective communities they serve and other efforts in the geographic vicinity. If the federal government distributes independently of the states to these same entities without state coordination and consultation, redundancy and inefficiency may very well follow," the governors wrote.

"There are these national rollouts and then at the federal level, the state gets an allocation and then the state allocates its allocation to people and there doesn't seem to be coordination between that," UB's Simpson said. "That's a mystery to me. It seems like we could coordinate that."

The state also set up rules that limited certain vaccine vendors to certain types of customers, adding to the frustration.

"Tops is only permitted by the state to vaccinate those ages 65-plus so we encourage those who fall within those parameters to check our site as well as other pharmacies who fall under a similar jurisdiction on an ongoing basis," Sautter said.

A state official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the Western New York vaccine hub is working on a website that may list all the locations that might have vaccine, but it will not offer appointments – only contact information for the individual locations.

Katerinsky of UB warned that trying to create a single website could turn out to be a train wreck.

In fact, there is a precedent for that: the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, in 2013, which featured enough crashes to draw unfavorable comparisons to the Daytona 500.

"With the right resources behind it, it could work, but I remember the ACA rollout of in 2013," Katerinsky said. "I was in D.C. at the time and remember the mess and political fallout that came from it. If they’ve learned anything from that, maybe this initiative would have a chance. Otherwise, I see no good reason to spend the time, money and political capital on such a project."

A health-related website faces challenges beyond listing available appointments, Katerinsky pointed out.

"You’d need a robust hardware/cloud deployment with really strong security to follow (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines, because if you want to prioritize the vaccine rollout to make personal appointments, you have to ask questions whose answers need to be protected," Katerinsky noted.

For example, the state Health Department website, which offers appointments only at state-run vaccination sites such as UB's South Campus, asks each applicant a long list of health screening questions.

People in the private sector around the nation have taken a whack at trying to supplement their state and local vaccine systems. In New York City, the New York Times reported last week, more than 20 volunteers surf the web and call distribution sites to post available appointments on

Somewhat less labor-intensive is, created by an Airbnb software engineer to gather appointment availabilities "from 45 city and state-run vaccine sites in the NYC area" and send the results out on Twitter.

But Tuesday afternoon, the site offered only a long list of locations with no appointments available.

That brings us back to the root cause of the problem.

"You would not be frantically checking multiple sites if everybody had enough vaccine," Simpson said.

"When does this end?" Cuomo asked Monday. "Because the system is set up the way it is, it's not really going to end until you have increased dosages."

And that, the governor said, probably won't be until May or June, when the federal government's massive purchase of 600 million doses begins to show up.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS)19 Feb 2021 15:23
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 2 of 11
By the summer, the virus will probably of gone away. So not only did he kill many, he left many vulverable like yourself too. Quite the Emmy Award winner.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)19 Feb 2021 16:16
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 3 of 11
With all the variants around, I don't think this virus will be actually gone anytime soon. Maybe in a year or two, everything will go back to near normal.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS)20 Feb 2021 18:25
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 4 of 11
My question is if I get vaccinated while do I still have to wear a mask? I do think the mask has reduced the flu numbers this year tho.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)20 Feb 2021 20:41
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 5 of 11
I did hear that even if you get the two shots, you will have to wear a mask. There have been cases of people getting Covid even after they have had it. They say that also applies to having the shot. Especially in relation to the mutated variants that may or may not infect people who have had the shot.
From: Carl (SPARTACUS)22 Feb 2021 21:29
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 6 of 11
Fauci says we have to wear masks until 2022. The Spanish Flu disappeared after 18 months. And they had no masks and no Fauci. That guy is a complete idiot.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)23 Feb 2021 09:29
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 7 of 11
Not being a medical expert, I can't compare the Spanish flu with Covid-19. I'm not sure if the Spanish Flu developed mutations which were more fatal. Time to call in Fauci for his opinion. LOL
From: Carl (SPARTACUS)23 Feb 2021 11:35
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 8 of 11
I do know the Spanish Flu did not discriminate by age, everyone could catch it. But like all viruses, it did dissipate over time just like the Covid 19 will.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)23 Feb 2021 12:15
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 9 of 11
I hope you are right about Covid-19 dissipating. But then there's Covid-UK, Covid-SoAf and Covid-Bzl to contend with. Aren't we supposed to be "rounding the corner" according to the former Pres?
From: Carl (SPARTACUS)24 Feb 2021 16:38
To: Razz (RAZZMAN) 10 of 11
I believe none of the fear mongering. With the number of vaccinated, the number who already had it, and the dead, we should reach herd immunity sooner rather than later.
From: Razz (RAZZMAN)24 Feb 2021 20:14
To: Carl (SPARTACUS) 11 of 11
Hope you are right, but not holding my breath. Will breathe better once this pandemic is over.