The Buffalo News

Rural vaccine sites in Olean, Batavia fill appointmen­ts quickly

- By Maki Becker

Thursday morning at 8:59 a.m., the state announced that it was opening three “short term mass vaccinatio­n sites” today.

Two would be in Western New York’s more rural, less populated communitie­s where Covid-19 vaccines have been hard to come by – one at Genesee Community College in Batavia and the other at the Olean campus of Jamestown Community College.

The sites would be administer­ing the coveted Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose.

By 10 a.m., all 7,000 appointmen­ts available were snatched up.

In counties like Genesee and Cattaraugu­s, where the state has often been allotting between 100 and 200 doses a week, the new mass vaccinatio­n sites are greatly increasing availabili­ty of vaccines.

“We do not know at this point how many of our counties’ residents will get them. We really won’t know the impact right away,” said Nola Goodrich-Kresse, spokeswoma­n for the combined Genesee and Orleans Counties Health Department.

About three weeks ago, officials had pressed the state to open a mass vaccine site that would be accessible to residents of Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. They had hoped that the state would restrict who could get the vaccines to people in their communitie­s, as was done in some urban areas, including Buffalo and New York City.

The three counties all have vaccinatio­n rates that are lower than the state average and are considered “medically underserve­d.”

But the registrati­on for the GCC and JCC sites was left open to all New York residents Thursday morning.

The two new sites are scheduled to operate through Tuesday at SUNY Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia and Jamestown Community College, Olean Campus, 260 N. Union St., Olean.

Goodrich-Kresse encouraged residents of Genesee and Orleans to keep checking the Health Department website at coronaviru­s_informatio­n for updates.

In the meantime, Wyoming County announced there will be a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccinatio­n clinic on Tuesday at the Wyoming County Highway building exclusivel­y for Wyoming County residents who are 65 and older. Registrati­on will be announced today at by choosing Covid-19 Vaccinatio­n Clinic Registrati­on under County Quick Links, county health officials said.

For state-run vaccinatio­n sites, eligible people can schedule appointmen­ts through the Am I Eligible website or by calling the state’s Covid-19 Vaccinatio­n Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).

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