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Vaccinations are crucial for a healthy population and economy

Chamber Corner

New York state continues to open up COVID-19 vaccination eligibility, and at the same time the vaccine supply has increased with additional clinics and pharmacies being added to calendars frequently now. This is all important work as our local businesses continue to move forward and as we continue to work towards a summer tourism season that is critically important to or our local economy.

Data from the state Health Department shows that 29.9% of Chautauqua County residents have received at least one vaccine dose. 15.7% have been fully vaccinated so far. That’s a good first step, although we still have work to do, especially as we recognize that senior citizens make up the bulk of our vaccinated population at this time.

Now it’s time to get the entirety of our region’s workforce vaccinated. Beginning April 6 all New Yorkers age 16 and over will be eligible for vaccination. There will be no more regulations around pre-existing health conditions or eligibility by employment. As the gate is being opened even wider, it means there will be increased demand for the vaccine. Supply of the vaccine remains variable as it comes into the region. Therefore, there may be some challenges, for a period of time, getting an appointment for the vaccine. We encourage you to continue to have patience, and to be persistent.

We cannot say it strongly enough: COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective. While there are numerous myths that have been floated about the vaccinations, the facts are that they have been rigorously tested, safely manufactured, and approved by the Food & Drug Administration. There is no live COVID-19 virus in the vaccine, so it cannot make you sick with the disease. Some people do have some short-term side effects, especially after their second shot, but that is largely due to COVID antibodies at work in your system and will only last for a day or so. The vaccine does not and cannot change or interact with your DNA.

COVID-19 vaccinations are also free of charge. You may be asked to show an insurance card at your appointment, but there is no copay and will be no charge for the shots.

As we work together to create some return to normal activities, we know that a crucial part of creating herd immunity for all is vaccination. That has been the case with all vaccinations over the years as we have watched a variety of illnesses be eradicated by vaccines including polio, smallpox, rubella, and others.

Vaccines for the coronavirus are a key tool in helping to keep people safe and healthy, and in helping to fully reopen our businesses and our economy.

We need to take a moment to say thank you to all who have been instrumental so far and continue to work to provide vaccines for our local residents and workforce. We are grateful to the personnel at the Chautauqua County Health Department, the Chautauqua Center, our hospitals, the pharmacists, nurses, emergency medical personnel, local provider offices and all volunteers who have and continue to work long hours to make vaccination opportunities available to our community.

When additional clinics open up, please register and get a shot or two in the arm. It can go a long way towards providing a true health and economic shot in the arm for our entire region. In the meantime, whether you’ve been vaccinated or not, please continue to wear a mask, practice safe social distancing, and wash your hands. We’re not out of the woods yet.

JOIN US APRIL 13 FOR TUESDAY TALKS: SUMMER TOURISM SEASON

In our ongoing series of Tuesday Talks events the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will focus in April on the upcoming summer tourism season and what that means for local businesses. Our guests will be Andrew Nixon, Executive Director of the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau; Emily Morris, Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Officer at Chautauqua Institution; and Henry Sirois, General Manager at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel.

This event is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 13, and will be held via Zoom webinar. We encourage all attendees to support our small businesses by getting some takeout breakfast or coffee to enjoy during the event and come prepared with questions for our guests. This Tuesday Talks event is sponsored by OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and Univera Healthcare Southern Tier.

You can register online now through our Chamber calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.

STATE LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST IS APRIL 23

When the Chamber of Commerce scheduled its State Legislative Breakfast as our first ever virtual event last April, little did we know we would still be meeting online a year later. This year we continue to hold online events in place of large group gatherings, as health concerns still influence these decisions.

This year’s Virtual State Legislative Breakfast is set for 8 a.m. Friday, April 23. Our guests will be state Sen. George Borrello and state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell. We encourage all attendees to come prepared to submit questions for our representatives in Albany. You may also email questions prior to the meeting to swebster@chautauquachamber.org.

This is another great opportunity to support small local businesses, as you can easily pick up breakfast or coffee from a local restaurant to enjoy during the online event. Our sponsors are Chautauqua Institution, Jamestown Mattress Company, Media One Radio Group, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, and UPMC Chautauqua. Please register in advance through our online Chamber calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org.

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