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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Madison, Oneida Counties open vaccine waitlist to anyone 18 and older

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WRVO News (file photo)

When Madison County launched its vaccine waitlist, it was exclusively for those age 40 and up. But as the county continues its struggle to fill available appointments, it has now opened that waitlist to anyone over 18 years old.

“We want to make sure that we have a good list of people to call on, you know, in the event that we have extra vaccine,” said Madison County Supervisor Mark Scimone.“[We want] to be able to make sure that that vaccine goes into someone's arm as opposed to being wasted.”

Over 33% of Madison County residents have gotten the first dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, which is well above the statewide average.

However, vaccinations are plateauing in central New York as the region waits for more residents to become eligible. In Madison County, Scimone said only about one-third of the county’s vaccination appointments are being filled each day.

That’s why Scimone and several other central New York leaders have been pushing Governor Andrew Cuomo to open up eligibility to all New Yorkers over 18 years old.

“We want to get the vaccine in the arms of folks,” said Scimone. “We don't want to make sure that we're wasting anything.”

Oneida County also opened its waitlist to 18 and up on Wednesday and Onondaga County lowered their minimum age requirement to 30 years old on Thursday.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon continued to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to let counties decide on how to use their allocation of vaccines. 

"We shouldn't be paralyzed in central New York because other parts of the state aren't vaccinating at the same rate," McMahon said. "We should be allowed to take care of our community."