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Erie County working to identify those most at risk within comorbidity category

Moderna Vaccine
Posted at 8:52 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 17:10:32-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — People with comorbidities can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the county will work with local health agencies to identify those most at risk within the comorbidity category.

"Should we be putting it in the arm of the 30-year-old who otherwise has no underlying conditions except high blood pressure or is it best to put it in the arm of someone who has multiple comorbidities so to speak and may be a senior?" Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz said counties will receive a designated number of vaccine doses from the state for people with comorbidities, but they don't know know many.

"What we first need to do is find out how many doses were getting. Then, we will work with a number of local health care agencies to identify the individuals who are most at risk and provide the doses to those agencies so they can vaccinate," Poloncarz said.

Poloncarz said there's nearly a half of a million people in Erie County that now qualify for a vaccine dose, so vaccination will take time.

"By the time we get through the first and second doses for everyone in the 1B category, we're looking at summer. Unless all of a sudden hundreds of thousands of doses are dropped in our lap in the next month or two, it's still going to be a long slog," Poloncarz said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said people who qualify can start making appointments at state vaccination sites Sunday.

"On the local health department sites the appointments can start on the 15th. We'll leave it to the local health departments to decide when they start scheduling," Cuomo said.

But Poloncarz said it's not that easy at the county level.

"I'm actually surprised New York state keeps on adding more and more categories to the 1B because they know they don't have the doses to meet it," Poloncarz said.

A full list of those living with comorbidities eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is available here.