Orleans has lowest vaccination rate among upstate counties
Orleans County has the lowest vaccination rate in Upstate New York, according to the state’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker.
In Orleans, 5,697 out of 40,612 residents or 14.0 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine. (2,778 or 6.8 percent in the county are completed with the vaccine series.)
The 14.0 percent is well behind the state average of 19.4 percent of residents receiving at least one vaccine dose and behind the 20.7 percent in the Finger Lakes, a nine-county region that includes Orleans. To be at the region’s average, Orleans would need to have 8,406 people with at least the first dose of the vaccine or another 2,709 people from the current 5,697.
The county is also well behind nearby rural counties. Genesee is at 19.4 percent and Wyoming is at 16.2 percent with at least one dose. Livingston is at 18.8 percent.
Wyoming and Orleans have nearly the same population – 40,085 in Wyoming and 40,612 in Orleans. But Wyoming has about 800 more people with at least one vaccine dose than in Orleans – 6,478 in Wyoming and 5,697 in Orleans.
“The numbers show Orleans County hasn’t had the access to get vaccinated compared to the region and the state,” said Paul Pettit, public health director in Orleans and Genesee counties.
“We’re going to keep pushing. We want more vaccines locally.”
The public health departments in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties collaborated on a mass vaccination clinic at GCC in Batavia over five days from Friday through today. That clinic was intended to restricted to the three counties but was opened to everyone who registered, with the 3,500 doses claimed in the first 90 minutes the state website was open.
About half of the shots or 1,666 went to Erie County residents. Orleans County residents only were able to get 169 or 4.8 percent. Genesee County residents received 17.0 percent, Niagara County residents signed up for 12.7 percent, Monroe County got 9.3 percent and Wyoming was only at 2.4 percent. There were residents from 17 other counties who were able to register for the vaccine at the GCC clinic.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the number of folks we would have liked to for Orleans, Genesee or Wyoming counties,” Pettit said on a conference call this evening with elected officials in Orleans County.
‘The numbers show Orleans County hasn’t had the access to get vaccinated compared to the region and the state. We’re going to keep pushing. We want more vaccines locally.’ – Paul Pettit, public health director
GCC proved an ideal setup for the clinic and Pettit said the three health departments are applying to do another clinic at GCC. They would like there to be residency restrictions so the vaccine could be limited to the three counties.
Pettit also is pushing the state for an additional vaccine allotments for Orleans County to help the county get caught up with the state and region averages.
“We’re trying to get a special allocation, especially for Orleans County because we are behind,” Pettit said. “Hopefully the state will come through with additional allocations.”
The state’s Vaccine Tracker shows few counties are under 15.0 percent with at least one dose. In Western New York, Orleans has the lowest vaccination rate with Allegany the next lowest at 15.3 percent.
In WNY the county rates of residents with at least one vaccine dose, as of 11 a.m. today, include: Orleans, 14.0 percent; Niagara, 17.7 percent; Erie, 20.1 percent; Genesee, 19.4 percent; Wyoming, 16.2 percent; Monroe, 21.4 percent; Livingston, 18.8 percent; Chautauqua, 19.6 percent; Cattaraugus, 16.5 percent; and Allegany, 15.3 percent.
The counties in the state with vaccine rates below 15 percent include: Orleans, 14.0 percent; Steuben, 14.3 percent; Orange, 14.4 percent; and Sullivan at 14.6 percent. In New York City, two boroughs are lower than the vaccination rate in Orleans, with Bronx County (the Bronx) is at 13.6 percent and Kings County (Brooklyn) also at 13.6 percent.
That compares with counties in northern New York where the rates are about double the percent in Orleans. Clinton is at 30.1 percent, with Franklin at 27.2 percent and St. Lawrence at 27.6 percent.
Orleans this week will receive another 600 doses of the vaccine, Pettit said. That includes 200 to be administered by the Health Department, 200 by Rosenkrans Pharmacy in Medina, 100 by Oak Orchard Health and 100 by the Medicine Shoppe in Medina.
“It’s still slow slogging,” Pettit said. “Hopefully we can get a special allocation to give a bump to our numbers.”