MAYVILLE – The two biggest issues in vaccinating Chautauqua County residents are a shortage of the vaccines and micro-management by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his administration, according to County Executive P. J. Wendel.
In an interview with WNY News Now Wendel said the county is mulling whether to add restaurant workers and drivers to the list of those eligible to be vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus.
“The Governor puts this out and says it’s in the hands of the county officials,” Wendel said. “When things start to unravel and things start to go the way the administration doesn’t like,” Cuomo puts the onus on county officials.
While everyone deserves the vaccination, Wendel said the county is stressing those who are most vulnerable.
He said the county has people age 65 and older with comorbidities, cancer patients, transplant candidates and others who need help.
“We need to take care of the people most vulnerable, that’s what our administration is keying on, we’re not slighting anybody, but we need to focus on those people who are most vulnerable,” Wendel said.
“We know there’s a shortage of vaccine, the Governor has said it, everyone has said it,” Wendel said. “We are adding to the number of people who are eligible and we don’t have the vaccine to do that. Our county is very controlled as to who we can vaccinate.”
He went on to say “the Governor’s micro-managing is very concerning to us.”
He said in the beginning of the vaccination process, Cuomo told counties to schedule ahead as far as possible, but he didn’t do that because he foresaw a likely vaccine shortage coming.
“We said don’t schedule until we have the vaccine. We’re not going to schedule people several weeks out.”
“Let this go to the professionals and that is our local health department. This is their Super Bowl,” Wendel said.
He said county health officials have already proven they can successfully battle a virus.
“Put this in the hands of those who can do it. H1N1 proved they can do it,” Wendel said.
More than 700 people were vaccinated at Jamestown Community College last week and even Cuomo called it a success.
“If we are allowed to have a vaccination site at JCC, I guarantee we vaccinate 700 people a day,” Wendel stressed.
With all due respect, Wendel said, “The Governor needs to step back and let the professionals do their job.”