Monroe and Erie counties take different approaches to COVID-19 booster rollout

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul is recommending anyone who feels they’re at risk of getting COVID-19, should just go out and get their booster shot. It’s a bit of a mixed message since state guidelines allow those 65 and over, and people with underlying health conditions to get their boosters first.

News10NBC took a look at how two Western New York counties are taking different approaches to Hochul’s announcement. Things are quite different if you live in Monroe County compared to Erie County when it comes to the COVID-19 booster shot

The push to get more people vaccinated, or complete their vaccination series with a COVID-19 booster shot is still a major call to action.

"This is without question the most important thing each of us can do to end this pandemic," said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.

Here in Monroe County, you’re asked why you need the booster shot right now, by first filling out a medical questionnaire. Erie County Executive Marc Poloncarz says forget the questionnaire.

"We’ll boost you no questions asked as long as you’re over the age of 18, and it’s been more than 6 months since you got the Pfizer, or Moderna completed, or 2 months since the Johnson & Johnson," Poloncarz said.

Here in Monroe County supplies of all 3 vaccines, and boosters are abundant, but Trillium Health Staff Pharmacist Shane Cieri says the demand for the shots is currently low. Still, people are coming in.

"Even this month we’ve already outpaced what we did last month entirely," Cieri said.

News10NBC’s Patrick Moussignac asked Cierie, "Bottom line, would Trillium Health turn anyone away if they didn’t meet the current criteria for a booster shot?"

Cieri replied, "Someone comes in, and is looking for a vaccine, first, second dose, booster dose whatnot. We’re able to give it. We will give it."

As for the mixed message coming from our political leaders?

"The cases are on the rise in the county. So that could lead public health officials, or government officials to take action you know one way, or another, and open up to more people," Cieri said.

Late Monday afternoon, New York City announced that all adults now qualify for their booster shots even though federal health agencies have not approved this move yet.