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Local officials urge patience as vaccine eligibility expands


Health and government officials in the Finger Lakes say they realize there is a big need and desire for more COVID-19 vaccinations, but they can’t do much more right now until that supply is increased.

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello notes that as of next Monday, people with underlying health conditions will be among those eligible for the vaccine doses.

But he says how those appointments are made will depend on supply.

"More vaccine is coming, and we have the manpower and capacity and logistical setups to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible," Bello says. "It is going into arms as soon as we receive it. But as we talked about before, the amount of vaccine and the supply does not equal the demand."

Local officials cautioned that they will not be making appointments for people with co-morbidities until they have enough vaccine on hand.

Health officials did say during a news conference Wednesday that they are optimistic the vaccine supply will increase in the coming weeks.

Monroe County Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Michael Mendoza did say that, in terms of nursing homes, he is becoming more hopeful in terms of visitation since more than 85% of residents have been vaccinated.

"I think now is the time to entertain a plan. And to figure out the plan for that, that’s going to be something that will have to be developed at the state because the state is ultimately who governs the nursing homes," Mendoza says. "But here, in Monroe County I’m very open to having a conversation, trying to develop a plan and trying to see what we can do to  help our loved ones."

Wade Norwood, a co-chair of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, says that he’s pleased with the ‘pop-up’ vaccination efforts that have been going on locally and around the state, geared toward reaching the African-American and Hispanic communities, and people who may not have easy access to the technology needed to make appointments for the vaccine.