The Niagara County Department of Health has announced the start of Point of Dispensing (POD) operations to provide COVID-19 vaccination to eligible persons as defined by New York State.

“We will be prioritizing POD drive-through operations as a key focus for our staff and volunteer efforts,” said Daniel J. Stapleton, public health director. “All POD sites are drive-through operations, pre-registration only and scheduled on a week-to-week basis based on vaccine availability and (state) phases.”

For each phase, county health officials will send pre-registration information via multiple communication channels to targeted distribution groups. As the phases expand to include the general population, pre-registration information will be made more publicly available on the health department's website:

“POD operations require a significant number of staff, in concert with volunteers and partner support,” said Elise Pignatora, director of public health planning and emergency preparedness. “The community can play an important role by following key isolation and quarantine actions, while we work to ensure a safe, efficient and equitable vaccination campaign is available to our community members.”

While cases continue to rise in Niagara County and surrounding areas, the health department is asking residents to remain vigilant and play an important part in reducing community transmission of COVID-19.

“Our nurses will be staffing the POD operations to help ensure those most at-risk from the virus have access to the vaccine,” Laurie Schoenfeldt, nursing director, said. “With limited staff and the need to shift some staff from contact tracing to vaccination efforts, we urge community members to follow key actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Individuals who have been told of a positive COVID test result by their physician, pharmacy, health care facility or laboratory must isolate for 10 days past the onset of symptoms, or 10 days past the date of their positive test sample collection if they're asymptomatic.

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