Leaders call for vaccination clinic at GCC

Batavia

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Leaders in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to create a mass vaccination clinic at Genesee Community College (GCC).

“Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties have consistently been left out of the COVID-19 response with delays in testing supplies and now with very limited vaccine allocations,” the letter reads. “All three counties are medically underserved and having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities.”

The letter says that with help from the National Guard, a clinic at GCC could lead to more than 2,000 people getting vaccinated per day. According to the letter, a clinic at this location would also benefit those who have limited transportation access to Buffalo or Rochester.

The letter was signed by the following people:

  • Rochelle Stein, Genesee County Legislative Chairwoman
  • Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislative Chairwoman
  • Rebecca Ryan, Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman
  • Paul Pettit, Genesee Orleans County Health Departments Director
  • Dr. Gregory Collins, Wyoming County Health Department Medical Director

Read the letter in its entirety below:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

February 18, 2021

Dear Governor Cuomo,

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Health Departments respectfully request a regional mass vaccination clinic at the Genesee Community College (GCC) campus to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the rural counties. These counties have consistently been left out of the COVID-19 response with delays in testing supplies and now with very limited vaccine allocations. All three counties are medically underserved and having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities.

The residents of these counties are strategically located between Buffalo and Rochester and many residents have limited access to transportation to travel 45-60 minute commute twice to safely get the COVID-19 vaccine. This would also draw the eastern and western portions of other contiguous counties. The college campus is easily accessible from the Thruway. The GCC campus facility, if properly staffed, through assistance by the National Guard has the capacity of vaccinating in excess of 2,000 individuals per day.

With the three counties vulnerable and underserved populations, the county Local Health Departments also request to continue receiving allocations for their vulnerable populations locally to meet the needs of those with transportation/access issues while also supporting a larger regional clinic at GCC.

Our three counties look forward to working with your office to provide this much needed and more equitable solution to meet the needs of the more rural communities.

For further conversation around establishing this clinic, please contact Paul Pettit at Paul.Pettit@orleanscountyny.gov or 585-589-3250.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rochelle Stein, Genesee County Legislative Chairwoman

Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislative Chairwoman

Rebecca Ryan, Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman

Paul Pettit, Genesee Orleans County Health Departments Director

Dr. Gregory Collins, Wyoming County Health Department Medical Director

Cc: David DiPietro, Patrick Gallivan, Stephen Hawley, Michael Norris, Robert Ortt, and, Edward Rath, III

A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health provided a statement to News 4, in response to the leaders’ call for a clinic at GCC.

“New York State has operationalized one of the largest vaccine distribution networks in the nation, with over 5,000 providers statewide, and nearly 4 million shots administered to date. The state has also taken special efforts to reach communities where access is lowest, hesitancy rates are the highest, and vaccination rates are below average, but as with everything, the state’s supply is limited by the allocation we receive from the federal government. We look forward to being able to continue to expand access as the federal government increases the supply of vaccines.” 

Jill Montag, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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