Local leaders encourage young people to get vaccinated ahead of prom & graduation season

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Erie County leaders are continuing the push for young people to get vaccinated after they say that age group continues to test positive for COVID-19.

Last weekend, the county’s health department held a prom-themed vaccination clinic.

“In five week’s time when 16 and 17-year-olds and their families are fully vaccinated, they don’t have to worry about going to parties, they don’t have to worry about graduation or prom – they can feel safe wherever they are,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.

Burstein said as of May 3, 30 percent of 16 and 17-year-olds in the county had received their first dose of the vaccine.

In Niagara County, Niagara Falls City School District Superintendent Mark Laurrie said he’s encouraging his students to get vaccinated, even planning to meet with a group of seniors to encourage them to speak with their peers about getting the vaccine.

“I think it’s absolutely critical that students whose parents support them to get vaccinations take advantage of this now,” Laurrie said. “The availability is there; the move to get to herd immunity is necessary.”

He said this becomes especially important as we approach prom and graduation season. Right now, the district is juggling three different plans for these events.

“[The plans are] dependent on the variables that are put in front of us,” Laurrie said. “The one consistent that will make all plans work is vaccinations.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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