BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein reiterated the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine at Wednesday’s press conference.

She says it protects against developing moderate to severe disease, hospitalizations, and death from all COVID variants of concern identified in Western New York.

Burstein asks anyone who has symptoms or has traveled to an area with high COVID rates to get tested. She says even if fully vaccinated, you could spread the virus.

According to Burstein, 61% of Erie County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, 57% received both doses.

The health commissioner says she’s concerned about the low vaccination rate among 12 to 15-year-olds, especially with school starting in a month.

Dr. Burstein says only 44.8% of 12-15-year-olds are vaccinated compared to 51.6% of 15-17-year-olds and 72.1% of those 18 and up.

“If you want to do something healthy at the fair and you’re not vaccinated, come see us at the mobile vaccination clinic and get vaccinated,” Dr. Burstein said.

She says the county has seen more transmission in summer school and camps in July tan during the school year. Burstein also says there’s unvaccinated staff, and both staff and campers are coming in when they’re sick and not masking.

Burstein says the county is anticipating K-12 school guidance from the NYSDOH.

The NYSED has advised schools to look at CDC guidance for masking and distancing.

Additionally on Friday, people can call to make an appointment to get a COVID test to go across the border to Canada, according to the health commissioner. Testing will begin Monday.