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In Onondaga County, 80,000 residents were eligible for only 900 vaccine appointments

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)
A limited number of COVID-19 vaccines are being scheduled at the Oncenter Convention Center.

Anyone who was able to register for a coronavirus vaccine in Onondaga County this week was very lucky. County Executive Ryan McMahon said tens of thousands of people were vying for about 900 vaccine appointments, and they were filled within minutes. He estimates about 80,000 were eligible.

He’s worried about seniors who may not be tech savvy, getting lost in this process. The county’s been able to reach some eligible groups when the vaccine becomes available.

“We can communicate to school buildings to get out to their staff,” McMahon said. “We can communicate to law enforcement, we can communicate to 911, and everyone else who’s eligible. It’s the tens of thousands of seniors it’s harder to communicate to.”

The county is looking for new communication methods with those over the age of 65 who are eligible for the vaccine.

“We’re trying to find a solution for some sort of pre-registration, knowing it’s going to be a long process no matter what,” McMahon said. “We’re looking at all sorts of tools, recognizing many seniors aren’t on social media, many seniors don’t get the digital media that a lot of folks do. These are eligible folks and our most vulnerable.”

The county doesn’t have a communication plan in place yet and McMahon doesn’t expect next week to be much better than this past week, when the county was allocated only 900 shots. Onondaga County only registers individuals when it has the vaccine.