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Tips for Securing a Vaccine Appointment

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 12:48
Durell Godfrey

For those eager to get a Covid-19 vaccine, meeting the state's eligibility requirements is only the first hurdle. Actually securing an appointment can be tricky and time-consuming, and the process can be even more difficult if you have limited access to the internet. Here are some tips, and links, gleaned from our research that may make it a little easier.

Some have luck with New York State's Am I Eligible web page, which lists all the vaccination sites run by the State of New York ranked in order of distance and availability. Getting an appointment close (or closer) to home at a state site may take persistence, though. Availability changes frequently throughout the day, and even when a site like that at the Stony Brook Southampton campus is listed as having no availability, there may, in fact, be a smattering of appointments that open up. 

But there are are several other options, and many of them may prove more fruitful than going directly through the state site.

Suffolk County also runs vaccination sites. People can schedule appointments or pre-register to be notified about available appointments on the county's online vaccine hub. A new county site has opened at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge.

Major pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens and some smaller pharmacies are now vaccinating New York residents 50 and older, teachers, and people with qualifying underlying medical conditions. Appointments can be made online for the national chains, but note that when age eligibility drops, the national pharmacies may lag in lowering their online eligibility to reflect the most up-to-date state qualifications. 

Hospitals are also operating vaccination clinics as doses become available. Some, like Stony Brook Eastern Long Island, allow people who qualify for the vaccine to pre-register for a future clinic even if one is not currently scheduled. Those who are pre-registered then receive an email when a clinic is planned and can follow a link to book an appointment for a vaccine. Stony Brook Southampton Hospital did not have a pre-registration option earlier this week, but instead updates the vaccination page on its website when a vaccine clinic is coming up. Northwell Health, which operates the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, has its own vaccine registration page

East Hampton Town has been running vaccine clinics at its East Hampton Center for Humanities building on Stephen Hand's Path and has set up an online vaccine hub where eligible people who live or work in the town can pre-register for a chance to be vaccinated at an upcoming clinic. Pre-registered people are contacted by the town when appointments are available, usually only a day or two in advance of the clinic, but the town has been able to hold several so far staffed by medical professionals and teams of volunteers.

Individual physicians' offices may get allocations of vaccines that they can offer their patients. The state is also working with local partners on pop-up clinics aimed at reaching people in traditionally marginalized communities and has asked houses of worship to volunteer to serve as vaccination sites.

Veterans can find details about getting the vaccine from a Veterans Administration health care provider on the V.A.'s website.  

For an idea of where vaccinations are being offered,, a free online service run by epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, Harvard Medical School, and Castlight, can be a starting point. 

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