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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.

Onondaga County planning for increased COVID-19 vaccine eligibility

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

Onondaga County officials say they're happy about the state's decision to loosen eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines. They're ready to put plans into action to help the community reach herd immunity. 

County Executive Ryan McMahon said Monday he feels like the county has been stuck in neutral for a few weeks, but now, that’s changing. Starting Tuesday, New Yorkers aged 30 and up will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone over age 15 will be able to sign up starting April 6.

“It's exciting,” McMahon said. “We're getting through these demographics. We’ve got to get everybody who's willing to get the shot the shot, and then we need to really hunker down into the communities or geographic regions of folks who may have some hesitancy.”

The vast majority of current COVID-19 cases are being found in younger populations, so county officials say a top priority will be partnering with local colleges and high schools over the next few weeks.

McMahon said they're going to be practical in how they're fighting the virus.

“There's a bigger risk in those groups as they start to gather more and do more things as their high school careers start to end, so we understand that,” he said.

McMahon said more than 162,000 people have been vaccinated in Onondaga County so far. That’s 44% of adults. To reach herd immunity, he said his goal is to reach 75%-80%.

He's reminding people to use good judgment until that herd immunity is reached.  He says COVID-19 testing sites are still available throughout the county, and as people return from spring break vacations, they should get tested as needed.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.