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Hospitals to distribute vaccinations for patients with underlying conditions in Erie County

US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Erie County officials say that the county is anticipating a shipment of 1,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week for individuals with qualifying comorbidities and underlying conditions to be distributed through hospitals, and has also received enough to begin rescheduling some appointments that were cancelled on Jan. 23.

For distribution to newly-eligible, high-risk patients, the county is partnering with Kaleida Health and the Catholic Health System to distribute to eligible patients with specific conditions. 

"Physicians and hospitals will reach out specifically to certain atients to screen and schedule an appointment. Patients and community members who have comorbidities should not call local hospitals asking to be scheduled, " the county said in an advisory on the procedures.

“By providing vaccine to Erie County’s hospitals, we are setting up a system where physicians with a deeper knowledge of their patients’ medical histories determine who is most at risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 infection and in critical need of this limited resource,” said  Dr. Gale Burstein MD, Erie County Health Commissioner, in a prepared statement. “This population includes people who are most at-risk for more serious COVID-19 complications.”

Last week, New York State announced that eligibility was being expanded to include those with

  • Cancer (current or in remission including 9/11 related cancers)
  •  Cerebrovascular disease 
  • Chronic kidney disease,
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathyies, or hypertension
  • Immunocompromised state including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Liver disease
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer's Disease and dementia
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Severe Obesity (BMI <40) and Obesity (BMI < 30)
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes

The individual practices and organizations will contact their patients to schedule these appointments. To show they have comorbidities or underlying conditions, New Yorkers must provide documentation as required by the facility where they are getting vaccinated
This week's federal distribution will also include 1,700 doses for patients who had appointments that were cancelled at the county's distribution sites January 23. They will be contacted for their new first dose appointments this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Erie county also announced that through March they will begin to vaccinate residents and staff at OPWDD/DDSO congregate living sites. Approx. 300 doses are expected in the first week.

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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