Expanded NYS vaccine eligibility leads to supply and demand worries in some counties


ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB)–New York State is now allowing people who work public-facing essential jobs in the areas of nonprofit, government, public, and building services to get vaccinated.

Many rural communities have been strapped for vaccines for weeks and the new eligibility guidelines will add thousands to an already heavy burden.

“But, the supply versus the demand, is still a very real frustration, not just here in Niagara County but everywhere,” said Rebecca J. Wydysh Niagara County Legislature Chairman. “We have so many individuals from the original eligibility group who have still not been able to get an appointment. We have equity and accessibility issues, we have just simply not enough doses to go into the arms of everyone who wants a dose.”

According to state figures, rural counties like Cattaraugus County have about 8 thousand people fully vaccinated, out of about 76 thousand residents; Chautauqua County has about 14 thousand people fully vaccinated, with a population of more than 127 thousand. 

In Niagara County, a county with a little more than 210 thousand residents, just over 24 thousand folks have been fully vaccinated so far.

“So, while we understand opening up eligibility and we need that to happen as we go forward, until we have the supply to meet that increased eligibility list, it really makes even more frustrations for people on top of where we already are.”

Wydysh says, she hopes the new state-run facility at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls will help carry some of the vaccine burden. She says, it could possibly open this Friday.

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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