Public Health Departments across Western New York work together to vaccinate as quickly as possible

Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 12, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Five public health directors overseeing six counties say this pocket of the state has come together to vaccinate Western New Yorker's as quickly as possible.

Watch the entire Health Commissioner Roundtable here, and on 7PLUS this Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 p.m.

"We know COVID and other diseases don't see geographical borders. What's impacting my county is impacting Gale's and Dan's and Chris's and Kevin's. We're all in it together," Paul Pettit, the public health director for Orleans and Genesee Counties said.

The health directors communicate with each other nearly daily to find the best practices to get Western New Yorkers innoculated.

"When the stress is on, we ban together to help each other out," Dr. Gale Burstien, the Erie County Health Commissioner, said.

The health directors have always been a joint front, but the pandemic has strengthened that.

"One of the important things about Western New York is how well we communicate and work together before a crisis hits because it only helps to move forward during a crisis," Christine Schuyler, the public health director for Chautauqua County said.

They said it simply makes sense because diseases like COVID-19 know no city, county or state boarders.

"We do have a lot of conversations around regional issues making sure we're hopefully on the same page so it's consistent from county to county which is a very important thing," Pettit said.

They say throughout this process they've learned a great deal from each other.

"I've learned something from every one on this call today. Whether it's been a process improvement, how they're doing a certain population, Gale has a tremendous staff who is always willing to help us with epidemiology questions," Schuyler said, "That's what's really nice to know. That your colleagues are your friends."

"It's not like we're waiting for the other county to figure it out. We do a lot of collective thinking and problem solving," Dr. Burstein said.