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Oneida County begins COVID-19 vaccinations

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
An Upstate Hospital pharmacy technician prepares doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Oneida County officials are rallying resources as they begin vaccinating individuals for COVID-19.

180 people have received COVID-19 shots at the first vaccination pod that has opened up in Oneida County, at Mohawk Valley Community College. County Executive Anthony Picente said this is the beginning of a massive vaccination effort in the community. He’s asking for some help; $2.6 million from the county Legislature to hire additional people on a part-time basis to administer the vaccine. He’s also asking the state for help on a couple of fronts. He’s sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo asking that the state widen the phases for recipients to get the vaccine.

"This includes law enforcement, first responders, teachers, 911 dispatchers, clergy, and essential workers keeping our economy and livelihood going forward,” Picente said. “It does no good to keep these vaccines on the shelf.”

Also included in that group, residents over the age of 75. Currently, the state is in the midst of the 1A phase of vaccinations of health care workers. There’s been no announcement when the second phase, called 1B, will begin. Picente said the county also wants more information from the state about how many doses are available in New York and how many remain unused. The county expects once more vaccination pods open up, there could be 3,000-4,000 vaccines administered every week.

"There’s nothing more important for this community, for this country to get people vaccinated,” Picente said. “And to get them done in whatever the time, the scope, drive through, in house, 24/7, whatever we have to do.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.