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Erie Co. to work with community providers to help vaccinate teens

Posted at 11:17 PM, May 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-04 23:21:54-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — 30% of 16 and 17 year olds in Erie County have at least one dose of the vaccine, according to Erie County. Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein said the county is looking to raise the vaccination rate in teenagers.

"We're trying really hard to work with our community providers that see adolescents, because we're able to accept those large doses of Pfizer and then distribute the smaller aliquots to the community providers who take care of these adolescents and they can vaccinate them in their own offices," Burstein said.

The county said it will also be going to schools.

Dr. Rachel Kaufman with Buffalo Pediatrics and Associates said it could be tough to vacciante patients at her office.

“It’s possible to have a clinic happen in a place where the vaccine can’t be stored, but there’s a lot of advanced planning that has to go into that to insure that you can get the people there because once you start to thaw that vaccine your clock is ticking, and you have to use it before it goes bad,” Kauffman said.

She said vaccinating children is a critical part of reaching herd immunity, and believes accessible pop-up clinics for teens that she could let her patients know about are a good way to do that.

Niagara Falls Superintendent Mark Laurrie said the school district is meeting with senior class officers to get their help in raising vaccination rates.

He said the district thought about bringing the vaccine to schools, but it would be tough to store. Governor Andrew Cuomo said high schools should consider busing students to vaccine sites.

“We have the bus company on notice," Laurrie said. "I’m willing with parental permission to allow students to do that during the school day with transportation so that we could get this accomplished.”

The FDA is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15 years of age next week.