Covid-19 response

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When will veterinary staff be vaccinated? Updated Feb 16th

  • 1.  When will veterinary staff be vaccinated? Updated Feb 16th

    Posted 01-11-2021 16:31
    Edited by Tim Atkinson 13 days ago
    NYSVMS continues to negotiate with the Governor's office for veterinarians to be added to the State's list of vaccine elegibility.

    As the vaccine rollout progresses, we are noticing that there is a lot of variability among counties and vaccination sites, and that some veterinarians have been vaccinated. Whenever we contact NY counties we are told that they must follow NY State guidelines, and that for now they are not permitted to vaccinate veterinarians unless they are eligible for other reasons, such as age or co-morbidities.

    There is a nationwide shortage of vaccines to cover those currently eligible, and there are hundreds of other essential worker groups who are also pushing for vaccination priority. The state is making their decisions based on case numbers, contact tracing, risk avoidance and other factors. We have no current prediction of when NY State will announce the next group of eligible essential workers.


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    Tim Atkinson
    NYSVMS
    Albany NY
    518-869-7867
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  • 2.  RE: When will veterinary staff be vaccinated? Updated Feb 16th

    Posted 01-19-2021 12:00
    I just heard from a client that she and her roommate were able to make appointments for their vaccine at the end of the month -- they work for a school district, so they are considered 1b even though they are in administration with zero public contact. In fact, they have both been working remotely from home this whole time. How is that fair or logical? Curbside service does not protect veterinary staff from exposure to each other. We wear masks, but we can't stay 6 feet apart, and we're working all day every day in cramped quarters. Plus, the staff still has direct contact with many clients day in and day out even if it's outside in the parking lot, and clients often aren't wearing their masks properly, if at all. We should have vaccine priority over office workers who can work from home!

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    M. Denise Corcoran
    Veterinary Medical Center
    Endwell NY
    607-748-7489
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  • 3.  RE: When will veterinary staff be vaccinated? Updated Feb 16th

    Posted 01-19-2021 12:11
    Hi Dr. Corconan,
    Unfortunately there is a huge amount that appears to be unfair and somewhat illogical about the vaccine rollout.

    We would certainly agree that veterinarians should have vaccine priority over office-workers who work from home. However the way the State wrote the eligibility requirements for school administrators it does not appear to specify that it is not for those working from home. That is probably a very small group within the class 1b categories that are currently eligible, and if you look through the list online you will see it is written to focus on people with direct public contact. https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-announces-additional-new-yorkers-individuals-75-and-older-can-begin-scheduling  

    We had a conversation just a few days ago and got close to having veterinarians added to the list.  Unfortunately the NY State government still takes the view that curbside enables veterinarians to restrict public contact far below the 15 minute threshold that is considered dangerous, and that the in-hospital contact between employees is lower risk than the groups they are focusing on for vaccination.

    That doesn't mean we have stopped trying, but it does seem that the actual incidence of Covid among veterinarians is somewhat lower than the 1b groups they have currently made eligible.


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    Tim Atkinson
    NYSVMS
    Albany NY
    518-869-7867
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