MAYVILLE – Public health leaders in Chautauqua County are looking to find a better COVID-19 vaccine appointment scheduling tool after the state changed the way their tool functions.
The Chautauqua County Health Department says New York State’s “Am I Eligible?” tool now only connects to state run vaccinations sites, with the closest at the University at Buffalo.
“This change came as a surprise,” said Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler in a statement. “People were already very frustrated because there is not enough vaccine for those eligible to receive it, and now the state has removed the only central repository of vaccine providers.”
The county now hopes to provide an alternative registration website while a new Western New York Vaccination Network Hub is developing a regional locator tool and hotline.
For now, residents are asked to visit the county’s website to see if vaccination clinics are available. They could also call the NY Connects Helpline at (716) 753-4582 for help making the appointment online.
So far only some local pharmacies have received the vaccine, with Rite Aid and Tops seeing a small allocation.
“The amount of vaccine we have is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed,” added Schuyler. “As quickly as we get vaccine, we administer it and I’m hoping that the state will increase its allocations to us.”
At Governor Cuomo’s Friday press conference, the Health Department and Brooks Hospital where hailed for administering 100 percent of their vaccine allocations while UPMC Chautauqua administered 98 percent of their allocations.
NYS is currently in Phase 1a and 1b of its distribution plan, with front line workers, residents of 65 and those at high-risk for COVID-19 complications eligible for the shot.