High COVID-19 rates and low vaccine rates worry Erie County leaders

Coronavirus

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Vaccine hesitancy, that’s what some county leaders and health experts say could be causing people to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I am seeing a rise in COVID like we were seeing in the past, and yesterday alone, 65 percent of the test of the people who came in, were covid positive,” said Dr. Raul Vazquez Urban Family Practice.

“So this wave is real.”

Dr. Raul Vazquez, says there are several things that could be contributing to Erie County’s high COVID-19 rates and low vaccination rates including vaccine hesitancy and health literacy.

“People are scared and being scared is normal, but then you also have to give them some hope,” said Vazquez.

And that hope, he says, is the vaccine. 41% of Erie County’s population has had at least one vaccine dose, and 33.2% of the population is fully vaccinated.

“We should see a reduction in our hospitalizations, we should see a reduction in our new cases, but what we’re seeing is there’s a certain percentage of the population that is not getting vaccinated,” he said.

The county executive wants to see those numbers go higher.

“If you want a vaccine dose, you can get it. The doses are available, the appointments are available. I hate seeing empty appointments not being used. Time slots not being used. There’s plenty of opportunity to get a vaccine from the Erie County Department of Health and other providers there. There’s no excuse now.”

Get a vaccine with Erie County by clicking here.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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