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County, City Keep An Eye On Vaccination Process

Nearly 3% of county residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data released by the Chautauqua County Department of Health.

Roughly 3,500 people have received their first dose of the vaccine while 162 have received the second dose.

Transit employees, grocery clerks, teachers, police officers, firefighters and others became eligible to get the vaccine Monday as the state opened up registration to those in category 1b.

“I want to be clear that there is still the 1a phase that needs to be completed,” Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist told The Post-Journal, noting that city employees and EMTs have started receiving their vaccination.

“We still have to go through another round of a booster shot,” he said. “Just on Friday, the governor announced that we’re moving into the next phase and so there have been a lot of challenges as to how we roll this out and the lag time between now and when we can receive it.”

Sundquist is a member of the Western New York regional control room, chaired by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“Other mayors and county officials in our control room are just trying to figure out how to roll it out,” Sundquist said. “We’re just trying to find how vaccine dosage will get here, and how to effectively get it out to those that are in that 1b.”

Meanwhile, Cecil Miller, UPMC Chautauqua vice president of operations, said the hospital’s priority currently is frontline healthcare workers.

“Once that priority population has been vaccinated we will wait for guidance from the state for opening up to 1b,” he said. “We were not given an allocation this week so we currently have no vaccine clinics scheduled.”

In neighboring Cattaraugus County, a vaccine clinic has opened up at the Cutco Magnano Theater at Jamestown Community College’s Olean campus at 260 N. Union St. Appointments can be made from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and one must visit covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov to see if he or she is eligible prior to scheduling an appointment. Printed proof of both the eligibility and the registration must be presented at the appointment.

New York state expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine again to allow anyone over age 65 to get it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday. The governor said the state’s following new federal guidance, which now means more than one out of three New Yorkers are eligible to get vaccinated.

The federal government will also no longer hold back required second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, a move expected to practically double supply.

Cuomo has warned that it will take six months to vaccinate 7 million New Yorkers, less than half of the state’s 19 million residents, if the state keeps only receiving 300,000 vaccine doses a week. He said it was unclear as of Tuesday morning how the federal government’s new move would impact New York’s weekly allocations.

The original U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines called on states to prioritize people aged 75 and older, and frontline essential workers in the second phase of the vaccine rollout.

Eric Tichy and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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