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Crowded JCC highlights local demand for COVID vaccine

OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce A COVID-19 vaccination clinic took place at Jamestown Community College. The campus, with a full parking lot, is pictured Friday morning.

JAMESTOWN — It was a crowded scene at Jamestown Community College on Friday for a COVID-19 vaccination clinic aimed at serving those over the age of 65.

The clinic, announced by the Chautauqua County Department of Health, filled within a matter of hours Thursday. However, it appears several arrived at the Jamestown campus without an appointment, causing some confusion early on.

A mass vaccination clinic also kicked off at the JCC Olean campus, where 3,500 Johnson & Johnson one-dose shots will be administered over several days. And on Monday, a vaccination site will once again open at the State University of New York at Fredonia ice rink for residents over 65, those with qualifying health conditions and for essential workers in phase 1b.

No appointments remain for any of the clinics announced this week. That prompted State Sen. George Borrello on Friday to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make COVID vaccinations a priority for rural residents in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.

The Sunset Bay Republican emphasized the “unfair disparity” in quantity and accessibility between the Olean site and the Delevan-Grider Community Center site in Buffalo.

“While I’m grateful that the state opened this temporary mass vaccination site today, it isn’t close to enough,” Borrello said. “The Department of Health allocated only 3,500 doses of vaccine to Olean for three counties. Allegany County alone has a vaccination waiting list of more than 3,000 residents 65 and older,” Borrello said. “It took less than two hours after the registration link opened for all those 3,500 doses to be committed.”

“Particularly concerning is the fact that registration for the Olean vaccination site was open to anyone in the state,” he continued. “It was a free-for-all. In contrast, the state’s Delevan-Grider Community Center mass vaccination clinic in Buffalo received 14,000 doses of vaccine and limited distribution to people in certain Buffalo-area zip codes so New Yorkers from other areas couldn’t take those slots. This ensured that everyone in the target population who wanted a slot, could access one.”

Locally, the county Health Department reported 24 new COVID cases on Friday. There have been 7,663 total confirmed cases to date along with 7,398 recoveries and 138 virus-related deaths.

There are currently 127 active cases, nine people with the virus in the hospital and 313 in quarantine. The seven-day positivity rate is at 1.1%.

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