Legislator Frank Todaro urges NYS to include convents and motherhouses in vaccine rollout phase 1A

Erie County

Exterior view of the St. Joseph’s Provincial House, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, in Latham, N.Y. The home for retired and infirm nuns lost nine residents to COVID-19 during December as the coronavirus pandemic’s second wave surged in upstate New York. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB)– Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro is pushing for elderly nuns living in convents and motherhouses to be included in Phase 1A of the COVID vaccine rollout, allowing the nuns to be prioritized.

The legislator’s resolution passed unanimously Thursday morning.

Todaro says nuns living in congregate housing are concerned about infection “considering the advanced age, close living quarters, and pre-existing conditions of many nuns.”

“Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro introduced a resolution advocating for elderly nuns living in congregate settings to receive the highest priority vaccine status after 22 nuns became infected with COVID-19 and 6 died at a Cheektowaga convent in December.”

Erie County Legislature

Todaro notes many of the convents and motherhouses meet the criteria for Phase 1A status but have not been recognized as such. He points to other Felician Sisters in Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan that have received the vaccine.

“Erie County is home to hundreds of elderly nuns living in congregate settings like motherhouses and convents. These facilities provide care to the elderly just like nursing homes and other long-term facilities do. These women who have dedicated decades of their lives to caring for others deserve high priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine. What happened at the Felcian Sisters convent in Cheektowaga is tragic and heartbreaking. We need to prevent deaths and outbreaks like moving forward. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their support, and hope to see our sisters granted access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.”

Erie County Legislator Frank Todaro

Patrick Ryan is a digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here.

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