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Mass vaccination clinic opens at KeyBank Center

Thomas O'Neil-White

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz stood at the corner of Perry and Main streets in downtown Buffalo Wednesday afternoon, directing people on how to get into KeyBank Center from the HarborCenter.

The home of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bandits joins Erie Community College’s North and South Campuses as mass COVID-19 vaccination sites for county residents.

Poloncarz said this is another example of the county showing its ability to house mass vaccination clinics.

“It’s taken from when they walk into the facility until they walk out, about 20-25 minutes,” he said. “People are going through. There’s really no delay now. They do have to wait 15 minutes after getting their shot.”

Poloncarz said the plan is to vaccinate as many as 1,000 people who meet the 1B requirements, regardless of age, per day. But that number depends on how fast doses of the vaccination reach the county.

“We’re at the mercy of what the state sends us and they’re at the mercy of what they receive from the federal government,” he said. “So it’s kind of out of our hands. But whatever we get we put in people’s arms.”

Two of those people are Lorrain Martinez Francis and her brother Paul.

“Oh, it was great. In and out,” Martinez Francis said of the process. “It didn’t hurt at all. A well-oiled machine once we found out where we were going.”

Despite some pre-dosage jitters, Martinez Francis said getting her shot was the right thing to do.

“I was a little anxious,” she said. “Yeah, just a little anxious. Everything is new, it’s all new and I was a little ‘ugh.’ But once I got in, I work with seniors, so it was really important to get in and make sure they’re safe. So we’re good.”

Eligibility requirements can be found here.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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