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Vaccine supply not expected to increase much in CNY, despite more people eligible

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
COVID-19 vaccinations in Syracuse.

Onondaga County is figuring out how to handle the onslaught of immunocompromised individuals who will become eligible to sign up for the coronavirus vaccine next week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced that individuals with underlying health issues ranging from cancer to high blood pressure, will be able to sign up starting next week to get the scarce vaccine. At this point, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon has no idea how many people that will be.

"Twenty-five thousand, 30,000, 40,000 are now eligible? I don’t even know the number,” McMahon said. “This is going to be a grind."

While there are more people becoming eligible to be vaccinated, McMahon doesn’t expect a major increase in the amount of vaccine the county has to distribute. But he said expanding the list is a good idea because these people are the most vulnerable to the virus. The county will work with local physicians, looking for the sickest individuals, to be vaccinated.

"People that primary care doctors are saying that if they get this, they will not live, they’ll be high risk of not living; those are the people we want to get vaccinated first," McMahon said. "And we’ll find the best way to do that.”

The county will determine how it will move forward once there’s a better sense of how much vaccine will be allocated for this population. That’s on top of thousands of central New Yorkers over the age of 65 who are still trying to get an appointment.

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.