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Vaccine distribution outpacing supply but equity is a regional priority

Wade Norwood is part of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
ZOOM press conference still
Wade Norwood is part of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.

Coronavirus vaccinations are still underway for people in the 1a and 1b groups, but supply is still a problem as there are not enough vaccines right now for everyone who is currently eligible. 

About 76,000 vaccine doses will be administered by next week within the Finger Lakes region, according to Dr. Nancy Bennett with the University of Rochester Medical Center. 

“We don’t have the supply to reach out to everyone in these groups,” said Bennett. “But we will going forward.”

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said that the county’s entire supply will be exhausted by Monday. Bennett said that the next round of doses after next week will depend on vaccine shipments.

Vaccine supply is up to the federal government and manufacturers, not the county, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said. So on a week-by-week basis they’re unsure how much vaccine will be distributed to the Finger Lakes region.

“We need to shift our focus here on the local level into what we can control to make sure that our capacity to administer the vaccine once it arrives meets the supply of vaccine once it gets here,” Bello said.

A regional vaccine taskforce is tackling some of the equity matters around getting the vaccine to everyday people.

Common Ground Healths’ Wade Norwood, who is part of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, said the group’s first obstacle is navigating vaccine hesitancy and equitable distribution.

“Our work has been made more challenging by the changing approaches rolling down from the federal and the state level,” Norwood said.

Equity, he said, is the group’s ultimate goal when it comes to vaccine distribution. That includes reaching older adults who would need providers to bring the vaccine to them. The group is meeting on Thursday to go over plans on how to accomplish this and other goals.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.