BUFFALO, N.Y. — We are still getting a lot of questions from you about how to make an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
One option people who are eligible right now for the vaccine have is to go to a state-run clinic, but finding an appointment in Buffalo has been a challenge for many. 2 On Your Side wanted to find out why.
Since more people have become eligible in Phase 1B, including those with certain medical conditions, we have been hearing from more 2 On Your Side viewers who have not been able to find an appointment close-by.
Pharmacies are focusing on the 65-plus age group, leaving the state-run sites as one of the main options for many people under 65 with comorbidities who now qualify for the vaccine.
Someone on Twitter told us, "We are driving to Syracuse tomorrow and my company is paying us regular hourly to do it, which is cool. Syracuse was the closest, quickest appointments we could find."
Another person said, "Driving to Rochester in April. I look at the website daily, multiple times a day and nothing new."
And a viewer emailed 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik saying, "My husband and I qualify for the 1B group for the COVID vaccine, being 80 and 83 years of age with chronic health problems, but have been unable to make an appointment... the NYS hotline has availability in Potsdam and has for the last two weeks, why doesn't that site transfer their unused doses to Erie County for use here?"
We went to the New York State Department of Health to get answers on Monday, asking that question for that viewer. We also asked how many appointments each state-run site has each week and whether certain cities still have appointments available because maybe the demand for the vaccine isn't as high in those places. We did not get a response by our Monday afternoon deadline.
But, here's what we have already reported. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that the state allocates the vaccine to counties and regions by the population that is eligible for the vaccine.
Last Monday, 2 On Your Side's Dave McKinley reported about how people with qualifying medical conditions were getting appointments outside of Western New York at state-run clinics because they couldn't find appointments here.
McKinley was also not able to get an answer from New York State health officials about why there may have been appointments available in those other cities, but not in Buffalo.
If we receive an answer from the New York State Department of Health, we will update you.
If you have a question about making an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine, feel free to contact 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik.