CANANDAIGUA — Ontario County officials are asking for patience as they wait for doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are getting some vaccine and scheduling clinics as the vaccine is available,” Mary Beer, the county’s director of public health, said Tuesday.
Beer asked people not to call the public health office. Instead, residents are asked to visit ontariocountypublichealth.com for information on upcoming clinics and how to sign up when slots become available.
Phase 1A and 1B clinics scheduled for Wednesday and Friday are full.
Beer and county Administrator Chris DeBolt pointed to an announcement last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has created numerous challenges for Ontario County and local health departments statewide. The governor said people in Phase 1B were now eligible for vaccination.
Phase 1B includes those 75 and older in the general population, as well as police officers, firefighters, educators, and others. Cuomo said Monday it could take up to 14 weeks to vaccinate people in that phase.
DeBolt said ongoing supply-chain issues, coupled with uncertainty on delivery dates and quantities, make the planning of vaccine distribution extremely difficult.
“At this time, Ontario County would like to ensure the public that we are working tirelessly to administer the limited vaccine doses we have on hand immediately, and we will continue to get vaccine to the qualifying populations in the most efficient manner,” DeBolt said in a press release. “As the quantity of available vaccine doses increases and we begin to have some confidence in delivery amounts and timing from the state, the county will communicate with stakeholder groups and the general public to notify them of vaccination opportunities.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful and exhausting experience for everyone. While we understand that many residents would like to receive the vaccine immediately, the county does not have the doses to do so,” Beer added. “Right now, we are asking for the public’s patience as we work with our state and regional partners to gain additional information and certainty on future vaccine deliveries and schedule vaccine distribution events for qualifying categories of residents.”
DeBolt and Beer said county officials meet daily with the regional vaccine hub, and regularly participate in meetings of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 “control room,” a group that includes area leaders. The latter helps coordinate vaccine efforts in the region and advocates for Ontario County residents.
People are also urged to see the state’s phased vaccine distribution website at covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov for eligibility and more information.