BUFFALO, N.Y. — After weeks without receiving any Pfizer vaccine, the only one approved for use in people aged 16 and up, Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said the county now has more than 1,000 doses.
"We are going to reserve those just for our 16 and 17 year olds in Erie County," Burstein said.
The department of health will be hosting three 'Teen Vaccine' clinics on May 1. The clinics will distribute the Pfizer vaccine to teens and will also offer Moderna vaccines to parents and family.
The sites will be at SUNY ECC North in Williamsville, SUNY ECC South in Orchard Park, and McKinley High School in Buffalo.
“We reached out to local pharmacies and New York State Department of Health after initially hearing that local health departments would not receive more Pfizer vaccine until early May,” Burstein said. “Each vaccinated person gets us one step close to the end of this pandemic, and with 16 and 17 year olds eligible for Pfizer vaccine, we are very eager to coordinate these special PODs for these teenagers and their families.”
"That is fantastic news," said University at Buffalo's Chief of Infectious Disease, Dr. Thomas Russo. "This is an age group that's had an increase in proportion of infections as of late because they've been unvaccinated and this is a great opportunity to get those individuals the protection they desperately need."
"The clock is ticking for our high school seniors in terms of it's getting close to prom time, it's getting close to graduation time and we know many schools now are setting up requirements of either have been fully vaccinated or having a negative COVID-19 test close to the time of the event," Burstein said.
As of Monday, Bursten said about 25% of Erie County's 16 and 17 year olds have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Parent consent is needed to vaccinate anyone under the age of 18.
"We are not starting from ground zero with vaccinating our 16 and 17 year olds," Burstein said. "As I mentioned some 16 and 17 year olds had been eligible earlier because of jobs, because of comorbidities. So 25% of our 16 and 17 year olds have received at least their first dose of a vaccine."
The schedule for May 1 is as follows:
Saturday, May 1, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Please note each site has different links for Pfizer (ages 16 & 17) and Moderna (age 18+).
Individuals unable to access online registration can call the Erie County COVID-19 Information Line at (716) 858-2929 for an appointment.
McKinley High School
1500 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14207
SUNY ECC North
6205 Main Street
Williamsville, NY 14221
SUNY ECC South
4041 Southwestern Boulevard
Orchard Park, NY 14127