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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 works to get more vaccines in arms

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Tom Magnarelli
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WRVO Public Media (file photo)

For the first time since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, Onondaga County is not planning to ask the state for another shipment of shots for next week. County Executive Ryan McMahon said at times, the county was receiving 6,000-7,000 doses per week. Now, demand has dropped to 1,000-2,000 shots per week. 

McMahon said the county is doing fairly well at vaccine distribution, and officials have been preparing for this drop in demand. About 67% of the county’s eligible population has been vaccinated, but that’s not enough for herd immunity. 

To get those numbers up, officials are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to get the shots.  Most clinics are now able to accommodate people who walk in, although they still prefer people to make appointments ahead of time. Officials recommend if people are going to try to go to clinics without appointments, try going later in the day, be prepared to wait, and avoid clinics dedicated to second shots.

County officials are also planning on educational outreach programs for certain areas with low vaccine participation.

"When we look at zip codes, there's clearly room for growth in some of these zip codes, when you have a zip code at 28% participation compared to one at 55%," said McMahon. 

He said the county is trying to work with local businesses to provide incentives for people to sign up for vaccines, too. 

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta is warning everyone that we’re not out of the woods, yet.

"If you can look around in the world, especially you see in India, it's a stark reminder, the wrath of the COVID pandemic still can come anytime, right here," said Gupta.

On the plus side, McMahon said clinics at high schools have been successful. He also said the county has enough Pfizer vaccines ready to vaccinate people ages 12-15 as soon as they become eligible.