Lydster: COVID vaccine procurement

Albany Public Library and Mohawk Ambulance

COVID vaccineRecently in this blog, I noted the vagaries of COVID vaccine procurement. I had my first shot scheduled for March 31 at the UAlbany campus, when unexpectedly, I got an appointment at CVS on March 3.

Likewise, I had nailed down for my daughter her first shot for April 17 at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany. Then on March 26, my wife received a text that there would be a pop-up vaccination site the very next day. She’d gotten a text from the Albany Housing Authority a month earlier that she should sign up, though she doesn’t recall how that occurred.

As she was heading for a meeting, she gave me the URL, but it didn’t work. Slightly panicky that the window of opportunity would close, I called the site, the Arbor Hill/West Hill library branch, and spoke to a librarian who I know. He knew the event was taking place but none of the details; I’m sure, as a librarian, that had to bug him. It would have frustrated me.

When my wife was free, she got a second website that DID work, and I got my daughter an appointment. And just in time, because the six-hour window (9-3) was down to about an hour.

The process

Since my wife was going to Oneonta to pick up her mother and take her to Cooperstown for her second injection, my daughter and I needed to take public transportation. We took the #106 CDTA bus, which was the #138 the last time I took it who knows how long ago. It dropped us off at Livingston and Henry Johnson, a couple of short blocks from the library.

One of the things my daughter does that I admire is giving extremely wide berth to those folks we walked past who were not wearing masks. My sense is that these people are on the uptick in Albany, commensurate with COVID cases inching up statewide.

The line was short, and we went through fairly quickly. The event was run by Mohawk Ambulance. Though the information from the website did not specify, I knew I had to go to the table with my daughter because she’s under 18. There were about 10 tables in all, each with someone to register, and another to give the injection.

My registrar was kind but technologically impaired. Fortunately, her teenage daughter was also there to assist her. I offered my daughter’s non-driver’s ID; as I expected, she was confounded. This was because the picture was of my daughter at about the age of six. While the ID is still valid, she hardly looks the same except to me. I was glad I asked my daughter to bring her high school ID. While not an official item, it was sufficient for the registrant.


Next, I handed the registrant the letter from my daughter’s doctor. It noted that she “has medical conditions that meet current criteria for vaccination under the Phased Distribution of the Vaccine set forth by the NYS Department as seen at” this website. I pre-emptively said, “Sufficiently vague, eh?” I could have noted the need for the doctor to respect the HIPAA requirements of his patient, but I thought of this later.

After the injection, we were supposed to wait for 10-15 minutes. Mayor Kathy Sheehan was there. She said her husband had gotten his injection at the site an hour earlier. We walked to the #12 bus, rode it, then walked home. Eighty minutes from leaving the house to walking back in the door, including public transportation. My sister’s friend in the San Diego area spent FIVE HOURS that same day.

My friend Catbird has a friend over 65 in Albany who, as of a couple of weeks ago, still couldn’t find a vaccine. I suggested that the friend sign up for everything. The county site, the state site, CVS, Walgreens, whatever, because the supply is definitely loosening up.


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