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Surge in vaccine supply leads to more vaccination appointments for Western New Yorkers

Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Posted at 5:45 PM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 19:47:17-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Johnson and Johnson vaccine has changed the game when it comes to vaccinating Western New Yorkers.

"It's a one shot deal. There's no followup to it. That's one thing. Two is the fact that you can store it in a refrigerator at 36 to 46 Fahrenheit and it's going to last. You can have that for three months. You don't have the timeline of weeks to months to really move product out," Dr. Raul Vazquez, physician at Urban Family Practice, said.

The state has announced there will be Johnson and Johnson vaccination sites at SUNY Genesee in Batavia and at the Jamestown Community College in Olean. Each site will administer 3,500 doses.

Senator George Borrello said this will help vaccinate people in Western New York's rural areas.

"Certainly, I'm glad we were able to get some shots, but we can do so much better," Borrello said.

Any eligible New Yorker can get vaccinated at one of these two locations, unlike the mass vaccination site at the Delavan Grider Community Center that is designated for Erie County residents only.

All 7,000 appointments in Olean and Batavia have already been booked.

"This explains why it sold out in a matter of minutes. The fact that so many people, senior citizens in my district, people with co-morbidities, were not able to get an appointment because this was a free for all, open to anyone," Borrello said.

The state said as more vaccine doses become available, they will review how these sites function to determine if the sites get more vaccine doses or if the state will establish other short-term sites across the state.

Meanwhile, Niagara County has announced it is expected to receive 6,500 doses next week. That's the most the county has ever received for a single week. 5,000 of those doses will be the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

The Allegany County Health Department said it's expecting to receive additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, creating additional appointments Friday for those eligible to receive the vaccine.

Eligible residents from any New York county can be vaccinated at the Niagara County or Allegany County locations.

7 Eyewitness News asked the New York State Health Department why there are no 24-hour vaccination sites in Western New York like those at Yankee Stadium, the Javits Center and the New York State Fair. The Health Department did not specifically answer that question.

"People are desperate. They're driving hours. They'll take whatever appointments available. I'm certain you can have people come overnight," Borrello said.