ERIE AND NIAGARA COUNTIES (WKBW) — Erie and Niagara counties are busy scheduling second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as they continue to distribute first doses.
"We've been doing second dose clinics. We have them going on today and one yesterday and them for the remainder of the week," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.
"It's going to be complicated because we're doing both during the week but we need to be able to do that. We'll get our first doses in. We'll schedule those. And we already have people who are scheduled for their second dose for next week. We'll do those too. It's a multi pronged approach," Dan Stapleton, the public health director for Niagara County, said.
Counties get separate shipments of first and second doses. This week Erie County has received 7,500 doses. They received 1,500 shots for those who fall in phases 1A and 1B.
Niagara County has received 3,500 second doses and 300 shots for those eligible to take the vaccine.
"They know how many first doses we've been getting so they send us the exact same amount for a second dose," Stapleton said.
Erie County has a specific vaccination clinic for second doses.
"We have separate locations so we know the individuals coming to the second dose clinic are there for a second dose," County Executive Poloncarz said.
Those who have received their first COVID-19 shot must get their second dose within a specific window of time.
"The guidance we receive is 28 days. We don't like to go much beyond that but we do have plans and we do have provisions if we don't get it in the prescribed time. So far we've been getting it. The state has been living up to their commitment," Stapleton said.
The first dose of the vaccine gives about 50% immunity to the coronavirus. The second dose increases it to about 90-95%.
"It's really critical if you want to fight the pandemic, we need to make sure people are fully vaccinated," Stapleton said.