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Chautauqua County gearing up for COVID booster shots

A band-aid is placed over an injection site
Chautauqua County Health Department

Chautauqua County is gearing up for federal approval of a third dose of COVID vaccines, even as it starts giving booster shots to those who are immuno-compromised.

Around 57% of those in the county over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated. That's a big factor in the system, since there are a lot of kids under 12 who are out in the world and who can't be vaccinated unless in some kind of medical trial.

"I've heard from many, many, many people that so far we haven't seen severe illness and death in a lot of children so far with COVID-19 and for that, of course, we're very thankful," said Public Health Director Christine Schuyler. "But at the same time, this is a very smart virus that mutates and does attack those who right now are not vaccinated and I hope it doesn't come to the point where that has to happen before more people get vaccinated to get to herd immunity."

Schuyler said there are a lot of people concerned about those who aren't vaccinated, particularly those under 12 and Washington is still studying research with the three principal vaccines' effects on children.

The County Health Department is re-opening vaccination facilities at SUNY Fredonia and Jamestown Community College, along with continuing drive-by clinics in the Chautauqua Lake Central School's bus garage. None of these are daily, so check when they are open.

Schuyler said if people want a booster shot, they get it.

"We are not able or eligible to ask for what that qualifying condition is. So, if someone comes up and says that they are immuno-compromised and need their third dose, then they will receive it."

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.