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Erie County Department of Health cancels COVID-19 vaccine appointments due to low supply

At this time, all COVID-19 vaccination Points of Distribution Clinics (PODs) through the county for January 18, 19 and 20 have been canceled.

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — The Erie County Department of Health announced Saturday that all COVID-19 vaccine appointments scheduled for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have been canceled.

At this time, all COVID-19 vaccination Points of Distribution Clinics (PODs) for January 18, 19 and 20 have been canceled, including locations at the ECC South campus and the ECC North campus.

The department of health says these cancellations have been made based on New York State's announcement last night saying the vaccine distribution will be dramatically reduced. The Erie County Department of Health added that it is dependent on New York State for the vaccine supply and is unable to order vaccines directly from the manufacturer or the federal government.

The county health department went on to say that any future appointments at the ECDOH PODs are subject to vaccine availability, and the appointments should be considered tentative. 

If the county does not receive additional doses, any upcoming first-dose appointments will be canceled. However, the county health department notes that any individuals who scheduled appointments to get their second dose of the vaccine at ECDOH PODs will not be affected by these cancellations.

“We realize the cancellation of these vaccine appointments will be tremendously disappointing to those who were scheduled to receive their first dose of vaccine at these clinics,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “Our entire COVID response team is incredibly frustrated with the federal government’s failure to establish a reliable vaccine supply and their lack of urgency to get vaccine to agencies, such as our Department of Health, that can get vaccinate those who currently qualify.” 

According to the county, these cancellations will affect 3,695 individuals who had scheduled appointments. Each person will be informed about the cancellations via emails and a robocall. 

Once a vaccine supply is secured, those affected will be offered an appointment.

“Our PODS are prepared to start vaccinating eligible residents as soon as we have a supply,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “We have been planning for this and have our sites, staff and scheduling process in place; the only limiting factor at this point is the vaccine. Going forward, we have to assume that there will be extremely limited vaccine availability until supply can keep up with demand.”

The county health department notes that anyone who has a scheduled appointment at a non-ECDOH site, such as pharmacies, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), hospitals and New York State sites, will not be affected by this.