Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

January 15, 2021
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


NEW CITY, NY, - The Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) is providing an update to the community about the COVID-19 vaccination process and the Commissioner, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, has updated her note on the health department's COVID-19 website to alert the public about the following:

The RCDOH is proud to be a part of the New York State COVID-19 mass vaccination effort. Since January 5th, we have gotten vaccine into 1,200 people's arms. However, the rollout of the vaccine has been slower than anticipated. The vaccine supply coming from the state and federal government is currently very limited. Last week, the health department requested 2,000 vaccines and received 200, just 10% of the requested amount. I understand the anxiety and concern this has brought to our many eligible residents eagerly waiting to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

I urge our community to please be patient as we continue to follow the state's guidance and await allocation of vaccine. We cannot predict how many doses will be received from New York State each week and are doing our best to get those eligible individuals vaccinated. Even though you are eligible, it unfortunately may take months for you to get a vaccine. Please continue to check our website's alert box for the latest, up-to-date vaccine availability information.

Getting our community "Back to Normal" will take all the public health tools we have on hand. The vaccine is one of those tools. Remember that you will need two doses (same manufacture) of the COVID-19 vaccine to be 94-95% effective. Wherever you receive your first dose of vaccine, you must return to that location for your second dose on the day and time provided to you. Protection from the vaccine is not immediate, and one is not considered fully vaccinated until 1-2 weeks following the second dose.

Even after vaccination, you must continue to wear a mask that fully covers your nose, mouth, and chin and maintain 6 feet of distance from people who do not live with you. Continue to follow the basics of good personal hygiene, including washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze by using your elbow or a tissue, and not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Clean heavily used surfaces often. Please avoid socializing with people outside of your household and respond to our staff if/when you are contacted regarding a positive COVID-19 test or contact with a positive person.

Please consider any public site in Rockland as a potential site for COVID-19 exposure. We are all in this together, and we need to continue to do our part to curb this disease's spread. The RCDOH continues to work tirelessly to vaccinate, monitor, investigate, and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

The RCDOH currently has no vaccine supply and urges residents who are eligible to sign up for appointments wherever they are available. Appointments must be made through the state's Am I Eligible webpage for any available vaccination site within the county and beyond. I empathize with the frustration and difficulties many of our residents have experienced in trying to schedule appointments through the New York State Am I Eligible website.

If you do not have access to a computer, New York State has also launched a COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline, which eligible New Yorkers can call to schedule a vaccination appointment at 1-833-697-4829. For more information on phase 1a and 1b eligibility groups, visit