Niagara County Health Department shifts vaccination strategies as appointments go unbooked

Posted at 5:23 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 17:23:19-04

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Niagara County Health Department is switching the way they're distributing the COVID-19 vaccine as demand for the shot decreases.

"For the first time since the pandemic began, I did not order vaccine this week. I know that there are probably a couple dozen more counties that are doing the exact same thing because we don't have enough people wanting it," Dan Stapleton, the Niagara County Public Health Director, said.

Stapleton said they are adjusting to the decreased demand.

"When you look at where we were a couple weeks ago, we did approximately 4,000 doses in two days. Last week, we did 3,100 doses in two days. Right now we're looking at doing about 1,600 doses today. We are not doing a clinic tomorrow because we don't have the people wanting the vaccine, so we're pivoting," Stapleton said.

The Niagara County Health Department will shift focus, hosting smaller vaccination clinics across the country, some in schools. They will also offer walk-in clinics.

"It's difficult when you take up to 4,000 you can do in one location and now we're going to a place where we might be able to do 100. That's difficult to do. But with partnerships like Jonathan Schultz, information technology, buildings and grounds, the sheriff's office, we can do it. It just takes extra effort," Stapleton said.

It's an entire county effort to get vaccines in arms.

"We kind of fill a roll of everything they need. We set the tents up the day before we have our [points of distribution], getting generators out here, run all the cables, run all the cords," Jonathan Schultz, the director of emergency services for Niagara County, said.

As demand for the vaccine decreases, these partnerships are ramping up.

"It's not only the supplies, the equipment, the logistics to moving things around. It's him and his staff actually reaching into a vehicle to give somebody a vaccine," Stapleton said.

"In rolling with the punches and doing what we can, we were very fortunate. We did hire on some paramedics and EMTs part time working with public health staff and giving the vaccinations," Schultz said.

Niagara County will continue to host second dose appointments at the Transit Drive-in.