Orleans has bigger vaccine allotment this week, but still short of need

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 February 2021 at 9:24 am

County working with Genesee, Wyoming for regional mass vaccine clinic

ALBION – Orleans County officials were disappointed last week when its weekly vaccine allotment was cut from 400 to 200.

This week the county received 500 doses, plus 200 second doses for those who received the first dose about 28 days ago.

Despite the increase in allotments this week, Public Health Director Paul Pettit said there is a long way to go for the county which has about 40,000 residents.

“That’s 500 doses for tens of thousands of people,” Pettit said. “It’s obviously not enough to go around.”

The breakdown of the 500 doses this week includes 200 for the Orleans County Health Department for essential workers and those with underlying conditions. (The Health Department also will administer 200 of the second doses, making those people fully vaccinated.)

Orleans Community Health will receive 100 doses for patients and those with underlying conditions.

Oak Orchard Health will receive 100 doses for patients and those with underlying conditions.

Rosenkrans Pharmacy in Medina will receive 100 doses for residents 65 and older.

Pettit bemoaned the system for signing up for vaccines has been very frustrated for people, with typically no appointments available or the state website crashing from too many users.

Pettit and Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the Orleans County Legislature, were on a state conference call on Tuesday afternoon with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He said the state is working to develop regional mass vaccination sites to speed up the pace of people getting vaccinated.

Pettit and Johnson said Orleans is reaching out to Genesee and Wyoming counties for a tri-county mass vaccination clinic that may be at GCC. Pettit said the counties will apply to the state for the mass vaccination site that would include staffing from the National Guard.

Each of the three counties is too small on its own for a mass vaccination site, but Pettit said the three together have a better chance of meeting the state’s expectations and being selected for such a site.

Johnson said Cuomo, on the conference call, wants the regional clinics targeted to communities “underserved and disproportionately hit” by Covid.

“That’s us,” Johnson said in a Tuesday evening conference call with local government officials at the village, town and county level.

“Orleans County needs vaccines,” Johnson said. “As you are all aware eligibility doesn’t meet availability here in Orleans County.”