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COVID vaccination clinics fill quickly

It didn’t take long for three local COVID-19 vaccination clinics to fill Thursday.

By mid-day, appointments were no longe available for a mass vaccination taking place Friday through Tuesday at the Jamestown Community College campus in Olean. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, about 3,500 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine will be administered at the Olean site, one of three to open Friday across New York.

The site was first noted Wednesday in a news release by Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, who has been pushing for a wider availability of the vaccine to eligible residents, including front line workers those over the age of 65 and with pre-existing conditions.

“We care about making sure all New Yorkers — including those in underserved communities chronically overlooked by Albany — have fair access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” Reed said previously. “We are glad to see the state reversed course and we will continue to fight to ensure the public health needs of Western New York are addressed and the region receives the additional support it deserves. As President Biden has indicated, we can achieve large-scale vaccination for much of the nation by May if we continue to work together.”

Two additional COVID vaccinations clinics announced Thursday by the Chautauqua County Department of Health also filled in minutes. One will take place Friday at the JCC phys-ed complex for area residents over the age of 65. The other at the State University of New York at Fredonia will be held Monday at the Steele Hall ice rink for residents over 65, those with qualifying health conditions and for essential workers in phase 1b.

As of press time there were still appointments available at the Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh; the SUNY Potsdam field house in Potsdam; and two clinics at the State Fair Expo Center in Syracuse.

According to the state Health Department, 15.5% of the population within Chautauqua County has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Cattaraugus County, 13.3% has received at least one shot; and in Allegany County, 10.5% — the lowest state rate.

Statewide, Cuomo said 16% of residents have received at least one dose. In the last 24 hours, 139,823 first and second doses have been administered.

“The infection rate and hospitalization rate are at the lowest we’ve seen since the holiday surge, and with steady increases to our vaccine supply, we’re making great strides in defeating COVID once and for all,” Cuomo said in his daily update. “We are now able to ramp up our vaccination efforts even further with the approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and get even more shots into arms every day. Throughout this process, we remain laser-focused on making sure that New Yorkers in communities most impacted by COVID-19 not only have the opportunity to take the vaccine, but also have trust in its efficacy.”

Meanwhile, virus-related statistics remain low locally. The county Health Department recorded 23 new cases Thursday, with the most (14) coming from the Jamestown zip code. There are currently 122 active cases, six people with COVID in the hospital and 364 in quarantine. To date there have been 7,640 confirmed cases, 7,380 total recoveries and 138 virus-related deaths.

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