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CDC: Nearly 50% of New Yorkers have received one dose of COVID vaccine

2 On Your Side asked experts and the New York State Department of Health about when major restrictions could be lifted.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 percent of New York State's population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 

This comes as incentives in Western New York continue to get people vaccinated.

Erie County is partnering Saturday with Resurgence Brewing for a shot-and-chaser clinic where anyone who gets a vaccine will get a coupon for a free drink.

On Tuesday, Six Flags Darien Lake will host a vaccine clinic and give away two admission tickets for those who get a shot.

According to the Erie County Department of Health, 61 percent of eligible people in Erie County have received at least one dose of vaccine. 

Many people have been asking 2 On Your Side when Governor Andrew Cuomo will fully lift restrictions, like mask mandates and social distancing.

2 On Your Side took that question to the NYS Department of Health, a spokesperson sent these remarks from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on May 3:

“What happens next? What happens next is what the science and the data says happens next. Well, what happens in two months? What happens in three months? What happens in four months? I don't know. Unless you have a crystal ball, you don't know either, and then you'd have to believe in a crystal ball, even if you had a crystal ball, I followed the numbers and the science and the data," he said.

"I believe in the trajectory that we're seeing, I believe we'll continue to get people vaccinated. I believe it is indisputable that the more people vaccinated, the better the situation. We see our hospitalizations down, positivity down, vaccinations up — we just have to keep all of those headed in the right direction. God forbid, something happens, then God forbid something happens and then we deal with it at the time.

NYS Assemblyman Angelo Morinello said he hasn't received any word from the governor about lifting large restrictions, such as mask mandates or social distancing measures, but said he would like to see New York start to reopen.

2 On Your Side also got some insight from University at Buffalo's senior associate dean for health policy, Dr. Nancy Nielsen, and University at Buffalo's chief of infectious disease, Dr. Thomas Russo.

"I really think by mid-summer we're going to be in a much better place, assuming that people continue to want to get vaccinated. As you know, that demand has dropped off significantly," Dr. Nielsen said.

Added Dr. Russo: "Outdoors we are already seeing easing, I anticipate further easing as cases drop, I suspect in a month or six weeks, if you're fully vaccinated, you probably won't have to wear a mask outdoors."

2 On Your Side tried to get answers from Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who is leading the Western New York reopening effort, but was told she was unavailable. Hochul hasn't answered our questions in 14 weeks.

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