By Barrett Seaman—
If the state can do it, why not individual communities? Somewhat frustrated with New York State’s seemingly arbitrary decisions as to where to set up so-called “Pop-Up” vaccine sites, village officials, including those in the rivertowns, are looking to create their own pop-ups.
They have found a willing partner in the Rite Aid chain of pharmacies, which have been receiving doses directly from the federal government. Abby Connett, Dobbs Ferry’s Senior Advocate in the village’s Recreation Department, reached out to Rite Aid. The result is a scheduled pop-up site at the Embassy Community Center on Palisade Street for Saturday, March 6th.
The village is taking applications now until 9:00 a.m. Monday, March 1. At that point, they will see how many people signed up and how many doses will be available from Rite Aid. As of Friday, February 26, they had not decided how to determine who on the list will get a call telling them that they will get the vaccine on the 6th.
Unlike the state pop-up sites, the Rite-Aid site in Dobbs Ferry is not limited to residents of the village or its 10522 zip code. Anybody and everybody who is 65 or older will be considered. As of mid-morning Friday, more than 500 had already expressed interest. Dobbs Recreation Assistant Kyle Crawford said he thought Rite Aid would have something in the range of 500 doses.
Qualified seniors can call 914-693-0024 or the Tarrytown Recreation Department at 914-631-8347 if they need help filling out the form, which can be accessed here: Registration Form.
The vaccine Rite Aid will be administering is the Moderna vaccine, which requires a second dose four weeks after the first one. As such, they will re-open the pop-up on April 3rd to administer the second shot.
The Village of Tarrytown, which has been trying to get the attention of the State Department of Health in an effort to bring a state-sponsored pop-up for the residents of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, is coordinating with Dobbs Ferry and talking to Rite Aid about creating a similar site within the 10591zip code.
Lobbying for a State-Run Site
Meanwhile, Tarrytown is reporting the results of its survey with Sleepy Hollow, designed to ascertain the level of interest and eligibility of residents in getting vaccinated. The hope is that a strong expression of interest will draw the attention of officials in Albany that are deciding where to place their own pop-up sites. To date, state-run sites in Westchester have been in Mt. Vernon, Port Chester, Yonkers, Peekskill and Mount Kisco. Having at one time had the highest infection rate in the county, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow officials feel they should be given strong consideration.
New York State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti says he has been lobbying for a rivertowns pop-up site. “Once again today, I urged the governor’s staff to be sure they put a pop-up site in the downtown Sleepy Hollow area,” he said. “They’re set up perfectly for it, with the Open Door in Sleepy Hollow and the Community Center in Tarrytown.”.
Nearly 2,000 (1,970) responded to the survey, 90% of whom said they want to get the vaccine and more than 60% of whom have not received a dose. A plurality of almost 30% were 65 or older, though of the total, most were still not eligible for regular appointments under the state’s criteria. The respondents were split 60-40, with more from Tarrytown than Sleepy Hollow. Though more preferred not to say what race or ethnicity they were, it appeared that the two villages’ minority communities were underrepresented.
“It would be great to have a state one,” said Assistant Village Administrator Josh Ringel. Unlike the Rite Aid pop-ups, which are limited to seniors—and also limited in vaccine supply, everyone over 18 that meets current state eligibility requirements is eligible for the state-run pop-ups, Ringel said.