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Erie, Niagara County residents account for over half of Genesee County COVID-19 vaccine clinic appointments

Public Health Director says Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming residents were 'shut out' of vaccine clinic meant for them after eligibility wasn't restricted by residency.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Western New Yorkers have been looking far and wide for COVID-19 vaccine appointments, some crossing the state, or even state lines, to get a dose. 2 On Your Side has previously reported on rural counties' calls for more doses for their residents. 

Now, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments are releasing stark data that shows a pop-up clinic placed in one of these rural counties had most of its' appointments taken up by non-residents. Over half of the appointments at the GCC temporary mass-vaccination site have gone to Erie and Niagara County residents. 

While there was no restriction based on residency for the vaccine clinic, the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments' Public Health Director Paul Pettit says that residents of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties (known locally as the GOW region) were "shut-out" of this clinic.

“After careful analysis of the registrations, what we expected to happen once we were told the clinic was open to anyone eligible, regardless of residency, did happen…The GOW region will be receiving less than 25% of the allotted 3500 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” stated Pettit on Thursday in a statement.

The clinic will provide the 3,500 doses over the next five days. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. Run by the state, the clinic's appointments were snatched up within an hour and a half of being listed online, says Pettit's office.

Erie County residents took nearly half of all the appointments, with 1,666 spots going to Erie residents or 47.6 percent of all doses available. Niagara County residents accounted for 446 spots or 12.74 percent of all doses.

“The purpose of our request was to help increase our vaccination rate, and provide for our county residents who have been shorted throughout this pandemic. This clinic assuredly did not significantly impact our rates,” Pettit further stated. 

Genesee residents got the most doses of any county in the GOW region, at 596 spots or 17.03 percent of available doses. Orleans County residents registered for 169 spots or 4.83 percent of doses. 

Wyoming County residents made up a mere 2.38 percent of appointments. Only 99 Wyoming residents will be vaccinated at this clinic. 

“With only 864 of the 3,500 doses of vaccine remaining in our three counties, we are still well below the current state-wide vaccination rate. We will continue to seek additional allocations to bring parity for the counties’ vaccination rates," Pettit added.

The county health departments are still encouraging those who are interested in this clinic to periodically check the state's website for cancelations. You can do that by clicking here or calling 1-833-697-4829.