BATAVIA — Slow, but improving.
Access to COVID-19 vaccines has been a painstaking frustration for those deemed eligible within the four-county GLOW region. But it is getting better, and in the meantime area residents are encouraged to keep trying.
“It appears it is still difficult to get vaccines but things are starting to show signs of improving,” said Nola Goodrich-Kresse of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments. “County allocations are starting to trend upwards which is helping to put more vaccine in our community.”
In Livingston County, allocations are improving from 200 to now 500 per week, said Jennifer Rodriguez, director of the county’s Department of Public Health. There was a glitch in shipping two weeks ago, but deliveries have otherwise been consistent.
Livingston County only receives vaccines doses for its own clinics, with other distribution going directly to providers. The county has to have its vaccines in-hand, in order to schedule a clinic.
The situation is often similar in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Genesee County as a whole has been averaging 500 doses weekly over the pat four weeks, while Orleans has been averaging 400 doses from the state, Goodrich-Kresse said.
Appointments currently depend on the allocation and delivery of vaccine, and is on a week-to-week basis, she said.
“Sometimes there is a couple of days lead time, however there are also times the delivery of the vaccine is delayed, or we are given a short turnaround time from the state, which provides for very little lead time as we don’t want to set up appointments until we know we have the vaccine in-hand,” she said. “Unfortunately, we have run into that situation and it is very challenging to make sure we are able to contact everyone to let them know the clinic is canceled or postponed. It also increases the frustration for our residents. We are doing our best to get the vaccine into arms as quickly and equitably as possible.”
Wyoming County has been receiving 100 doses of base allocation each week for essential workers in priority populations, with 100 supplemental doses in each of the last three weeks to be used according to the weekly state directive, such as adults with pre-existing conditions, said Public Health Administrator Laura Paolucci of the county’s Health Department.
“This week we are hoping for a larger allocation of supplemental doses to be used for those aged 65-plus,” she said.
The supply situation has been improving and clinics are being scheduled when vaccines are in-hand, she said.
In the meantime, all four counties are advising patience. They recommend people keep checking local providers, the relevant websites, and similar important sources for local availability.
Rodriguez recommends seniors and those who lack internet access — or aren’t internet savvy call their Office for Aging for help in getting appointments.
DOMES in Rochester is now administering 1,500 doses per day, and is also a good resource if transportation is not a barrier, she said.
Rodriguez also noted that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved over the weekend.
“We should see a good supply in the next few weeks in the county.” she said.
Livingston County leads the GLOW region in the percentage of population that has received vaccinations against the COVID-19 virus, yet the region overall lags behind the rest of the Finger Lakes region.
The state’s vaccination dashboard reported Monday that 9,602 residents of Livingston County have received at least one of the two-shot vaccination sequence. The number represents 15.2% of the county’s population of 63,227. A total of 6,160 county residents, or 9.74% of the population have been fully vaccinated with a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination tracker.
Among other GLOW region counties, according to state data:
n Genesee County (57,511 total population): 8,183 have received one shot, or 14.2%; 4,903 have received their second shot, or 8.53%.
n Orleans County (40,612 total population): 4,228 have received one shot, or 10.4%; 2,259 have received the second shot, or 5.56%.
n Wyoming County (40,085 total population): 5,177 have received one shot, of 12.9%; 3,162 have received the second shot, or 7.89%.
Overall, 27,190 people in the GLOW region, or 13.5% have received at least one shot, while 16,100 people, or 8.18% of the population has received a second shot. The region’s total population is 201,435.
Those percentages trail the data for the 9-county Finger Lakes region. Among the region’s total population of 1,202,978 people a total of 180,561, or 15% have received at least one shot. The second shot has been given to 105,515, or 8.8%, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination tracker.
Data for the other counties in the Finger Lakes region include:
n Monroe County (742,474 total population): 118,504 have received their first shot, or 15.9%, while 71,191 have received a second shot, or 9.6%.
n Wayne County (90,064 total population): 12,126 have received at least one shot, or 13.5%, while 7,216 have received a second shot, or 8%.
n Ontario County (109,864 total population): 19,539 have received at least one shot, or 17.8%, while 10,944 have received a second shot, or 10%.
n Yates County (24,841 total population): 4,129 have received at least one shot, or 16,2%, while 2,030 have received a second shot, of 8.17%.
n Seneca County (34,300 total population): 4,738 have received at least one shot, or 13.8%, while 2,640 have received a second shot, or 7.7%.
A greater percentage of the GLOW region’s population have been fully vaccinated compared to the state’s total population, but the GLOW region trails in the percentage of the population to have received at least one shot.
The Finger Lakes Region overall is trending ahead of the state’s overall vaccination rates. In New York State, 2,954,858 people, or 14.8% of the state’s population has received at least one of the two-shot vaccination sequence. Second shots have been received by 1,628,758 state residents, or 8.1% of the population, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination dashboard.
The data reflects vaccination numbers for doses distributed and delivered to New York for the state’s vaccination program, and does not include those reserved for the federal government’s Long Term Care Facility Program.
About 10 million New Yorkers are currently eligible to receive the vaccine.
The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments noted in a briefing on Friday that the limited supply of vaccine that county health departments receive are targeted for specific audiences following state guidelines.
“As this changes and we receive more vaccine to our counties we hope we will be able to further open up vaccine clinics. At this time all appointments are full, however we encourage you to keep monitoring in case people have canceled,” the health department said.
For more information about the vaccine and access for those who are 65 and older who do not have internet access, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are advising residents to contact their respective offices for the aging. The Genesee County Office for the Aging offers COVID-19 vaccine assistance by calling (585) 813-2457 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and assistance from the Orleans OFA is available by calling (585) 589-3191 between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Callers are advised to leave a message if they get voicemail and their call will be returned. The OFA offices can only assist with the clinic links as they are available. The system may experience slowdowns and crashing due to high volume.
For vaccination information in Livingston County, go to https://tinyurl.com/ydtyjenn.
For vaccination information in Genesee and Orleans counties, go to https://tinyurl.com/7sevcm4n.
For vaccination information in Wyoming County, go to https://tinyurl.com/4zm942rr.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday afternoon pledged more COVID-19 vaccine appointments for seniors as Moderna increases its supply.
Counties are expected to start receiving more Moderna vaccine next week as part of the effort, Cuomo said.
The goal is to increase access for those 65 and older through centralized locations. It wasn’t immediately clear when and where the new vaccination appointments will be offered.
The new effort is also expected to include help for those who need assistance with transportation and filling out paperwork needed for the vaccine, according to Cuomo’s office.
Due to limited supply, residents are encouraged to remain patient and are advised not to show up at vaccination sites without an appointment.
The state’s “Am I Eligible” screening tool has been updated for individuals with comorbidities and underlying conditions with new appointments released on a rolling basis over the next weeks. The site is available at https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
If you’re already eligible, keep checking the “Am I Eligible” website. Even though most sites say there are no appointments, click the “get started” button and keep going. When you get to the page with locations, hit the blue “update” button and keep looking.
New Yorkers can use the following to show they are eligible: doctor’s letter, medical information evidencing co-morbidity, or signed certification.
As of 5:30 p.m. Monday, New York’s health care distribution sites have administered 92% of first doses so far delivered.
The week 11 allocation from the federal government is in the process of being delivered to providers for administration.
Cuomo and public health officials continue to urge residents to wear masks, social distance and avoid large gatherings.
Includes reporting by Matt Surtel.