MAYVILLE – This week, the Chautauqua County Health Department received its largest shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to date, as county health officials look to balance vaccinations with new infections connected to a potential spring surge in cases.
“As we get more of our adult population vaccinated, I’m hopeful that we’ll have less spread in general as we build up towards herd immunity,” Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler told WNY News Now on Tuesday.
So far, nearly 25 percent of county residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and according to Schuyler the number will likely increase following two new clinics this week at SUNY JCC and SUNY Fredonia.
The clinics will be administering nearly 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine, the largest allocation from New York State so far.
“As of this morning, there were still about 400 appointments available at SUNY Fredonia for Wednesday and JCC for Thursday,” Schuyler continued, saying appointments can be made online at ChqGov.com.
Even though demand remains very high, with some still struggling to get an appointment, the health director fields questions from those who are concerned about the vaccines.
Schuyler says it goes back to where people get their information.
“We are not here to pressure or overpower someone,” said Schuyler. “It’s just to provide information and education and I highly encourage everyone to seek out their healthcare provider about vaccinations including pros/cons and the risks/benefits.”
Whether people choose to get vaccinated or not, Schuyler is optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel. However, she says it is not a time to get complacent.
“The risk is real, especially for those who are at higher risk of complications and death from COVID and those with underlying health conditions and are elderly,” said Schuyler. “It is everyone’s responsibility to do their best to take care of not just ourselves but those around us.”
Schuyler asks county residents to continue to be diligent and believes that with the elderly population protected, a surge in cases this spring shouldn’t result in increased deaths.
On Monday, New York State increased vaccine eligibility allowing 50 and older to also get the shot.