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County leaders calling for mass vaccination clinic at GCC

Leaders in Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties say it could help get 2,000 more people vaccinated daily.

GENESEE COUNTY, N.Y. — Leaders from Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties are calling on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a mass vaccination clinic at Genesee Community College.

The letter reads that “Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming Counties have consistently been left out of the COVID-19 response with delays in testing supplies and now with very limited vaccine allocations.  All three counties are medically underserved and having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities”.

It goes on to say will provide the COVID-19 vaccine to the rural counties, especially for those who have limited transportation access to Buffalo and Rochester. It also says vaccination clinic at GCC would draw the eastern and western portions of other contiguous counties, and it is easily accessible from the Thruway.

The letter was signed by Genesee County Legislative Chairwoman  Rochelle Stein, Orleans County Legislative Chairwoman Lynne Johnson, Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Rebecca Ryan, Genesee Orleans County Health Departments Director Paul Petitt and Wyoming County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Gregory Collins.

The letter concludes that “our three counties look forward to working with your office to provide this much needed and more equitable solution to meet the needs of the more rural communities”.

The New York State Department of Health responded to this with the following statement:

“New York State has operationalized one of the largest vaccine distribution networks in the nation, with over 5,000 providers statewide, and nearly 4 million shots administered to date. The state has also taken special efforts to reach communities where access is lowest, hesitancy rates are the highest, and vaccination rates are below average, but as with everything, the state’s supply is limited by the allocation we receive from the federal government. We look forward to being able to continue to expand access as the federal government increases the supply of vaccines.”

You can read the full letter sent to Governor Cuomo below:

"The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

February 18, 2021

Dear Governor Cuomo,

The Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Health Departments respectfully request a regional mass vaccination clinic at the Genesee Community College (GCC) campus to provide COVID-19 vaccine to the rural counties.  These counties have consistently been left out of the COVID-19 response with delays in testing supplies and now with very limited vaccine allocations.  All three counties are medically underserved and having a regional clinic with less than a half hour commute would benefit these communities.

The residents of these counties are strategically located between Buffalo and Rochester and many residents have limited access to transportation to travel 45-60 minute commute twice to safely get the COVID-19 vaccine.  This would also draw the eastern and western portions of other contiguous counties.  The college campus is easily accessible from the Thruway.  The GCC campus facility, if properly staffed, through assistance by the National Guard has the capacity of vaccinating in excess of 2,000 individuals per day. 

With the three counties vulnerable and underserved populations, the county Local Health Departments also request to continue receiving allocations for their vulnerable populations locally to meet the needs of those with transportation/access issues while also supporting a larger regional clinic at GCC.

Our three counties look forward to working with your office to provide this much needed and more equitable solution to meet the needs of the more rural communities.

For further conversation around establishing this clinic, please contact Paul Pettit at Paul.Pettit@orleanscountyny.gov or 585-589-3250.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rochelle Stein, Genesee County Legislative Chairwoman
Lynne Johnson, Orleans County Legislative Chairwoman
Rebecca Ryan, Wyoming County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman
Paul Pettit, Genesee Orleans County Health Departments Director
Dr. Gregory Collins, Wyoming County Health Department Medical Director
Cc:  David DiPietro, Patrick Gallivan, Stephen Hawley, Michael Norris, Robert Ortt, and, Edward Rath,III"