Erie County residents claim about half of vaccine allotments at GCC clinic

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2021 at 1:17 pm

Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming get about 25% of doses

BATAVIA – A mass vaccination clinic the next five days at Genesee Community College in Batavia was intended to help rural Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties catch up with their low Covid-19 vaccination rates.

The clinic was going to be exclusively for the three counties, but was changed by state officials to not include a residency restriction in those counties.

The local health departments have studied the registrations, which include the county of residence, and found only about 25 percent of the registrants are from one of the three counties.

“The purpose of our request (for the clinic) was to help increase our vaccination rate, and provide for our county residents who have been shorted throughout this pandemic,” said Paul Pettit, Public Health director for Genesee and Orleans counties. “This clinic assuredly did not significantly impact our rates. With only 864 of the 3,500 doses of vaccine remaining in our three counties, we are still well below the current state-wide vaccination rate. We will continue to seek additional allocations to bring parity for the counties’ vaccination rates.”

Erie County residents claimed 1,666 or 47.6 percent of the 3,500 spots. Niagara County residents took Niagara County 446 spots or 12.74% and Monroe County residents signed up for 326 spots or 9.31% of the total.

Among the three local rural counties Genesee County is filling 596 spots or 17.03%, with Orleans County taking 169 spots or 4.83% and Wyoming County getting 99 spots or 2.38%.

In addition, Livingston County is filling 73 spots or 2.09% and Ontario County residents claimed 45 spots or 1.29%. There were 15 other counties and out-of-state residents that each had less than 1%.

“After careful analysis of the registrations, what we expected to happen once we were told the clinic was open to anyone eligible, regardless of residency, did happen,” Pettit said.

The state website for registering for vaccines opened at 8 a.m. on Thursday and all 3,500 appointments were taken within 90 minutes for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is the one shot vaccine.

“For those in the Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming region who were able to register for this weekend’s state-run temporary mass clinic we understand how challenging it was,” Pettit said. “For those who live in our GOW region and were shut out of this clinic, we will continue to advocate for vaccine for our residents.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley issued this statement:

“This statewide free-for-all for vaccines is leaving rural New Yorkers behind, and is causing people from all throughout the state to come to our community to use up the small allocation of vaccines our community desperately needs,” Hawley said. “We need to be smarter about ensuring vaccines given to a community stay in that community, rather than allowing a statewide scramble for shots which keeps doses out of the arms of those who need them most in rural areas.”