WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed says a COVID-19 mass vaccination site is “highly” likely to be established in the Southern Tier region and, specifically, in Chautauqua County.
Reed explained during his weekly press conference Wednesday morning that those indications were given from State officials after an NBC News report Monday morning (confirmed to WNY News Now by Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel) indicated that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and other state officials denied the County a federal mass vaccination site.
The Congressman says that the move was nothing short of a politically motivated measure from the Governor’s office.
“It is very frustrating to me to see the political motivation of the Governor’s office that appears to be the basis for his advocacy to remove a mass vaccination site from Western New York and the Southern Tier,” Reed said. “I’ll leave it to others to identify what those political motivations are.”
“That’s something for the Governor to respond to,” Reed continued. “I’m glad we called him out, that we stood up to the bully and said, you know what, your advocacy against the lives and safety of thousands of Western New Yorkers by pushing this mass vaccination out of Chautauqua County, is not going to go unnoticed and will not go unchallenged by our office.”
The Congressman says that Chautauqua County “clearly” met criteria by the Center for Disease Control to host a mass vaccination site.
“If you look at a map, the mass vaccination site that was to go to Chautauqua County under the CDC guidelines would serve thousands of people in an underserved area that clearly needed access to those vaccines,” Reed said. “Chautauqua County is really in a position to be the area where this needs to be located based on the data.”
A site in Chautauqua County can also serve thousands of residents along the I-86 corridor, he added.
The Corning Republican explains that his office’s work, along with the NBC News report, provided the necessary pressure to get a site re-established in the Southern Tier.
A date for the site opening has yet to be determined, Reed says.
Reed, additionally, explains that a “team” approach between his office, Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel, Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator George Borrello was also instrumental in calling out the Governor for what he called a “political move.”
He is willing to work with the Governor’s office to find a site that will allow for thousands of people to be vaccinated each day, Reed says.