Gov. Cuomo announces five pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites in Western New York opening Thursday

Sites opening in Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Niagara Falls
Posted at 1:49 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 23:31:57-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that five new pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites will open in Western New York beginning on Thursday.

The governor announced that the vaccination sites will be at the following locations

  • The Belle Center
    • 104 Maryland Street, Buffalo
    • Open Thursday, February 4
    • Provider Partnership: GBUAHN/Urban Family Practice
    • The Belle Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. People need to make appointments by calling the Belle Center directly at (716) 845-0485
  • Mt. Olive Baptist Church
    • 701 E. Delavan Avenue, Buffalo
    • Open Thursday, February 4
    • Provider Partnership: Erie County Medical Center, Kaleida Health, Community Health Center of Buffalo
    • Mount Olive says their list opened up on Monday and that their list and wait list are currently full
    • In order to make a future appointment call the church at (716) 895-7494, and you don't need to be a member of the church to get a vaccine
  • Second Baptist Church
    • 18 Church Street, Lackawanna
    • Open Friday, February 5
    • Provider Partnership: Catholic Health
  • Wrobel Towers
    • 800 Niagara Avenue, Niagara Falls
    • Open Thursday, February 4
    • Provider Partnership: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
  • Doris Jones Family Resource Building
    • 3001 9th Street, Niagara Falls
    • Open Friday, February 5
    • Provider Partnership: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

As of late Wednesday afternoon, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center would not say if appointments were still available at the two sites in Niagara Falls.

These sites join 30 other sites across the state that are expected to vaccinate over 25,000 people throughout the week.

Dwayne Gillison is the assistant to the pastor at Mt. Olive Baptist Church and said the phones have been ringing non-stop since Monday with people trying to secure an appointment, but there are none left. He said appointments were on a first come first serve basis.

Gillison said the church's supply was cut from 500 to 300 doses on Monday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the sites are designed to target underserved communities, and make the vaccine accessible to Black and Latino New Yorkers disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“The significance of the churches and the community centers being used, where people can access that is great, and greatly needed," Gillison said. "Most of the vaccination has been going to the pharmacies, but if you look at these urban communities many of the pharmacies have moved out of the urban communities.”

Gillison said he is sending the site's wait-list to the state to show the need for community vaccination, and hopes the church can serve as a pop-up site again.

He said the church is also working to build trust around the vaccine when people call in, and adds the church is a familiar place for people who may be nervous about getting the vaccine.

Dr. Raul Vazquez is a physician at Urban Family Practice. Urban Family Practice/GBUAHN will administer the vaccines at The Belle Center.

Vazquez said 95% of his employees received the vaccine after town halls and other educational sessions.

“All the players that I’m bringing from my site have all gotten the vaccine, so they’re telling their personal stories, you know,” Vazquez said.

He said those stories along with vaccine education are key to combating vaccine mistrust.

“The goal is to get more of the black and brown population to step up, and I think the more ambassadors that we have, really talking to them, I think it’s going to create the trust that we need," Vazquez said. "But without that, we’re not going to be out of it this year if we don’t get more people vaccinated.”

Each site includes vaccine kits which include the following items

  • Office Supplies
  • Workstation Equipment
  • Communications Equipment
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Lighting Equipment
  • PPE
  • Crowd/Traffic Control Equipment
  • Vials
  • Syringes
  • Room Dividers

Gov. Cuomo's Office says all appointments must be made through community partners and local sites.

This push for more pop-up sites is to target under-served communities.

According to the state, the recent rollout of more vaccine sites is due to New York State receiving an increase in vaccines.

In three weeks, everyone who receives their first dose at these pop-up sites will return to get second dose; those second doses are already reserved for round two.

"COVID brought the ugly truth of inequity and inequality in this country to a tipping point," Governor Cuomo said. "COVID has killed Black and Latino New Yorkers at a higher rate and that is why these community-based sites are one of New York's vaccine priorities. More than 9,000 New Yorkers have been vaccinated through this effort and by making the vaccine accessible and delivered by trusted community partners, we can address the skepticism and bring this life-saving vaccine to those who need it most. The light at the end of the tunnel is bright and getting brighter with each new location and each shot administered."

Gov. Cuomo's Office announced that more sites will open up at other locations across the state every week.