Seneca Nation, Cattaraugus County team up to get residents vaccinated

Posted at 5:38 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 17:50:40-04

SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Seneca Nation and Cattaraugus county are joining forces to reach county residents and get them vaccinated.

Cattaraugus County Public Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins called the vaccine a light at the end of the tunnel.

"As Cattaraugus county continues to have hundreds of residents waiting to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, providers are beginning to see more doses of vaccines being allotted to the community," said Dr. Watkins.

"Getting things back to where we want takes all of our people to work cooperatively and our communities to work together," said Ricky Armstrong, Seneca Nation Treasurer.

Residents received their second dose of the vaccine at the Seneca Allegany Events Center. Overall, approximately 1,500 Cattaraugus County residents will have been fully vaccinated at the Seneca Allegany clinics.

Members of the Seneca Nation are able to participate in these clinics, and Armstrong said they are also getting the vaccine through their own health system, the Indian Health Services.

"We started with the 75 and above with comorbidities. And now we have opened up to over 18-year-olds last week," he said.

Cattaraugus County Legislator Rick Smith had been waiting to get his second dose of the vaccine.

"Just glad I'm getting it. I just felt that, well my age, and I just think it's important for people to get it," said Smith.

According to the county, 9,740 residents received their second vaccine doses. Armstrong says some 1,500 Seneca Nation members (out of approximately 8,500 around the globe) have been fully vaccinated to date.