ECDOH outlines plan to vaccinate adult county residents with certain comorbidities and underlying medical conditions

Erie County

Erie County Department of Health Logo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– The Erie County Department of Health released an outline of their plan to begin vaccinating Western New Yorkers who have certain comorbidities and underlying medical conditions with the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a Friday afternoon statement, the ECDOH said the state will begin allotting Erie county with limited weekly vaccine doses to vaccinate those with qualifying medical conditions.

The department said “After consulting with local infectious disease and medical experts, ECDOH decided to distribute next week’s NYS-directed vaccine allocation to hospitals for people with comorbid conditions.”

However, as of February 13, the department does not know how many doses will be allocated to the county for this coming week from New York State.

Officials tell us hospitals will evaluate inpatients to determine those that are most at risk due to one or more comorbidities and offer the COVID-19 vaccine. We’re told outpatients will also be identified and offered the vaccine if they qualify.

“By providing vaccine to Erie County’s hospitals, we are setting up a system where physicians with a deeper knowledge of their patients’ medical histories determine who is most at risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 infection and in critical need of this limited resource.”

“This population includes people who are most at-risk for more serious COVID-19 complications.”

Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein

The county department of health is working to develop a “self-attestation form” for county residents to demonstrate if they qualify for the vaccine because of an underlying medical condition, according to officials.

We’re also told that a physician’s note documenting a medical condition will be accepted.

Adult New York residents with the following conditions will qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine on February 15:

  • Cancer (current or in remission, including 9/11-related cancers)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Pulmonary Disease, including but not limited to, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma (moderate-to-severe), pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11 related pulmonary diseases
  • Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities including Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, including but not limited to heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) including but not limited to solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines, or other causes
  • Severe Obesity (BMI 40 kg/m2), Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or Thalassemia
  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus 
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Neurologic conditions including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia
  • Liver disease

Kaleida Health is responding to the news those with comorbidities and underlying conditions.

“We are working with the Erie County Department of Health, our partner hospitals in the community, as well as our physician leadership to ensure that there is consistency on vaccination for those with comorbidities when it begins next week. That said, there are still a lot of unknowns at this time such as exact information on quantities that we may receive or what the precise timeline of delivery will be.  What we do know, however, is that this will be an extremely limited resource and that demand will quickly exceed supply.  So this is expected to be a very long and evolving process.”


The healthcare provider says they have not been given notice regarding the number of vaccine doses that are to be made available to those with comorbidities and underlying conditions.

“Similar to last week, hospitals are still being instructed by the State to continue prioritizing unvaccinated 1a health care workers, particularly their own staff, who wish to be vaccinated.  The State on Saturday also announced that local health departments are authorized to determine what forms, or combination thereof, of the below proof options are required in their jurisdiction.  At State-operated mass vaccination sites, any of the following are acceptable to prove eligibility for individuals with eligible co-morbidities and underlying conditions: 

Doctor’s letter, or Medical information evidencing comorbidity, or Signed certification.”


For more county coronavirus information, click here.

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