BATAVIA — Genesee and Orleans County health departments continue to hold one vaccination clinic a week, with the focus on unvaccinated people, Public Health Director Paul Pettit said this week.
“We are currently vaccinating one day a week and testing one day a week. In Genesee County, Wednesday is our vaccination day. We’re over at County Building No. 2, currently offering first dose, second dose and booster shots,” he said at Monday’s Genesee County Human Services Committee meeting. “Our priority focus is still on the unvaccinated, so we’re still really pushing the initial doses, but we have started offering booster shots. The demand has not really been that big at the moment.”
Pettit said in Genesee County, there were 20 vaccinations last week and about 15 are signed up for this week. The Pfizer vaccine is being given at the moment, he said.
The clinic will be from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. There were 31 appointments available as of Tuesday evening. The registration deadline is Wednesday, according to the information on the department’s website. Call 344-2580 extension 5555. The Orleans County Health Department has a vaccine clinic scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the health department, 14016 State Route 31 in Albion. There are 27 appointments left and the registration deadline is Thursday. Call (585) 589-2765.
Asked at Monday’s meeting who fits the profile for a booster shot, Pettit said it’s basically anyone 12 or older who’s had the Pfizer vaccine or completed his or her two-shot series in the last six months.
“Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are in the process of looking to get approved for the booster shots, but they have not been approved yet,” Pettit said. “I did hear that J&J is a little closer. Potentially, by the end of the month, may have that approval for the booster shot.”
Pettit said there were 11 people in the hospital as of Monday, all unvaccinated people. This is what the department continues to see regionally and around the state, he said.
“Most of those folks are unvaccinated,” he said. “Cases are very active and presumed to be Delta variant. The state does random testing on what variant it is, but it’s random selection, so we don’t have a process to test the strains on our own.
Pettit said there has been a regional call every Monday, essentially with regional administrators and legislators.
“We talk about what’s going on in the region, looking at the various issues each county’s facing around what we’re doing with our clinics, activities, barriers,” he said. “Obviously, the thing we’ve been talking about most recently has been the health care mandate and the impact on that.”
Pettit said as of Monday morning, most of the counties were faring better than what health officials had seen a couple of weeks ago.
““We reached out to a lot of our health care providers. in addition to our nursing homes and it looked fairly bleak,” he said. “We have a lot of our nursing homes in particular, the potential of folks saying ‘I’m no going to get vaccinated ... Fortunately, when the mandate came into place, the impact wasn’t as bad. I think a lot of folks chose to get vaccinated.”
Pettit said some places are waiting to see the status of the religious exemption to getting the vaccine.
“Obviously, there’s going to be a ruling on that coming in the next week or so,” he said. “There are a percentage that have filed and claimed a religious exemption. If that is overturned and does not qualify, we’ll see what the impact is on our facilities at that point.”
Legislature Chairwoman Rochelle Stein commented about the need for people to stay home if they’re sick.
“Whether you’re on quarantine or whether you’re sick in general and you don’t know it, we are asking folks to stay home,” Pettit said. “We encourage a lot of businesses, etc., to re-implement, if they had them in the past, their daily screenings, because, whether asymptomatic or mild symptoms, we are seeing a lot of those folks come back positive. That’s one of the best strategies we can do to keep it out of our schools, keep it out of our workplaces and try to keep us as COVID-free as possible.”