Niagara County receives only a small fraction of COVID vaccine it ordered

Mar 9, 2021

The chaos in the COVID supply situation continues, as weekly supplies ricochet up and down and Albany bigfoots in to organize its own mass vaccinations instead of using existing county arrangements.

Washington says supplies of the vaccines are increasing rapidly and there are now three different suppliers pumping out shots. But there is an array of different supply chains, like Washington contracting with pharmacies for mass vaccinations in nursing homes while providing little immediate data. This all creates problems for local county health departments.

Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton talked about Monday's problem.

"We’re not getting the 6,500 doses that we ordered. We’re only going to be getting 800 doses this week."

"So we will only be doing one clinic this week. That’ll be on Wednesday, where we’ll be doing approximately 800 first doses and 800 second doses."

Stapleton wants to move into more rural corners of Niagara County, but he can’t do if there aren’t enough shots. He said the planned state vaccination center at the Niagara Falls Conference Center will help, although in a conference call Monday, Albany didn’t say when that will start.

"We are trying to get significant increases in vaccine so that we can meet the needs of the communities, because right now we’re not. We don’t have enough to meet the needs of people who want it," he said. "Hopefully, that vaccine supply will increase significantly."

Stapleton said he is seeing the value of the vaccinations in the plunging infection rates at nursing homes across the county.

"We put it toward a number of reasons why, but we do know that all the residents who received the vaccine and staff who received the vaccine in the beginning, the first shot four weeks later, two weeks after that have gone through their six weeks," he said. "Right now, I have less than 10 nursing homes residents with COVID. You look back two months ago, I had over 100."