ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health announced Saturday morning that COVID-19 vaccination clinics at county health distribution sites from January 18th to 20th have been canceled due to a short supply.
This follows Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center canceling its COVID-19 vaccination clinics for next week, also due to a short supply.
The Erie County Department of Health said these cancellations are based on New York State informing ECDOH that its vaccine allocation will be dramatically reduced from the expected amount.
These vaccination clinics where scheduled to take place at Erie Community College South and Erie Community College North.
Since the county health department ordered nearly 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines in early January and then 10,000 vaccines each additional week, health officials say these orders have only been partially filled.
“We realize the cancellation of these vaccine appointments will be tremendously disappointing to those who were scheduled to receive their first dose of vaccine at these clinics,” said County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “Our entire COVID response team is incredibly frustrated with the federal government’s failure to establish a reliable vaccine supply and their lack of urgency to get vaccine to agencies, such as our Department of Health, that can get vaccinate those who currently qualify.”
The health department says any future appointment at an Erie County Department of Health Points of Distrtibution (PODs) clinic should be considered tentative.
“Our PODS are prepared to start vaccinating eligible residents as soon as we have a supply,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “We have been planning for this and have our sites, staff and scheduling process in place; the only limiting factor at this point is the vaccine. Going forward, we have to assume that there will be extremely limited vaccine availability until supply can keep up with demand.”
Individuals who have scheduled second-dose appointments at ECDOH PODs are not affected by these cancellations.
Since opening up its first POD, the Erie County Department of Health has distributed 13,201 first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to eligible persons, including 1,602 doses at two PODs on January 15th.
Gov. Cuomo's Office released the following statement on vaccine cancellations
We are working around the clock and doing everything humanly possible to get every New Yorker who wants a vaccine inoculated, and we are working closely with all providers to get them the supplies they need. No one should have their appointment canceled, and like these providers, we are sorry that this situation occurred -- but unfortunately the federal government's supply doesn’t come anywhere close to the demand here in New York. In fact, the federal government had promised us 300,000 doses just a few days ago but has now told us New York will receive 50,000 fewer doses this coming week. The problem all along has been a lack of allocation from Washington, and now that we've expanded the population of those eligible, the federal government continues to fail to meet the demand. Hopefully that will change with the new administration and New Yorkers won't face having their appointments canceled because too few doses are coming from the federal government.