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Onondaga County makes progress getting through vaccine waiting list

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media (file photo)
COVID-19 vaccinations in Syracuse.

Officials say Onondaga County’s coronavirus vaccine waiting list seems to be working so far. It all plays into what is a fluid situation when it comes to dealing with continued low supplies of the vaccine.

Onondaga County was able to pull 90 people off ONList this week, after squeezing some extra doses of the scarce COVID-19 vaccine, following a regular clinic. County Executive Ryan McMahon said while it meant an extra 90 people getting a shot, it did illuminate one issue. When the county emailed people on the list to tell them they had been randomly chosen to get a shot, only 25% responded, and the county had to call the rest. The moral of the story, McMahon said, is if you are on the list, check your email more than once a day.

“In the event something happens, and we get to you, and your name gets pulled, you get your shot,” McMahon said. “Because if we get any vaccine, if we do a pop-up clinic with the state, and we get 1,000 doses, and somehow we can pull an extra 100 or 200 out of them, we are going the next day to do that.”

The county created the pilot ONList program so seniors wouldn’t be forced to take part in a mad dash online for vaccination appointments. The county and Kinney Drugs are pulling names from the list that so far, is 10,000 strong.

McMahon said the county is expecting 1,200 doses of the vaccine this week. The weather could conceivably play into this. A nor’easter that’s forced vaccination clinics downstate to cancel, isn’t expected to be as bad in central New York. McMahon doesn’t expect the weather to interfere with the shot schedule here, calling it an hour-by-hour decision.

“We want to keep our vaccination schedule going,” McMahon said. “We’d even take redirected vaccine this week from other parts of the state. If there was an issue about the integrity of the vaccine potentially, we would take more this week to get that done, if the state wants that.”

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.