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Erie County expects to cancel more clinics, as vaccine supply is delayed

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz told his COVID briefing Tuesday he may have to cancel vaccination clinics set for Thursday and Friday because expected vaccine hasn’t shown up yet.

Three days of clinics have already been cancelled this week. County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said this vaccine shortage means the number of people who get vaccinated remains small.

"Phase 1-A and Phase 1-B, we will not be able to make appointments and no facility will be able to make appointments for people who do not meet those criteria," Burstein said. "So we know that there are other agencies in our community that are offering vaccine right now and we know that pharmacies are up and running and they are vaccinating people who are 65 and older and they are only immunizing people that are 65 and older."

"We had a stand-by list of individuals who qualified, who will then get called in the final hour to say come down to where the clinic is and we will give you your dose. As a result of that, we have not wasted a single drop of vaccine," Poloncarz said.

Albany has now mandated that everywhere.

Because of secrecy and tight state lids on information, it’s not clear what’s going on in nursing homes over vaccinations for staff and patients. Poloncarz said he has been told there is progress.

"Thirty-four out of 35 nursing homes have at least received their first dose and they were moving to finish that with both their staff as well as their patients," he said. "Unfortunately, not every patient has accepted the dosage and neither have all the staff. It varies."

As of Monday, the governor’s office reported around two-thirds of patients across the state had accepted the vaccination first round, while in some areas up to half of the staff have refused the shots. There are around 130,000 nursing home staffers.

Catholic Health said 54% of the workers in its nursing homes have been vaccinated.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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