Finger Lakes region supply of 76K doses runs out Monday, teachers in line to get their shots

Finger Lakes region supply of 76K doses runs out Monday, teachers in line to get their shots Photo: URMC.

Berkeley Brean
Created: January 13, 2021 06:43 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — There is frustration over access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The response is from county and region leaders is: There's just not enough supply. 

Wednesday News10NBC learned how many doses have actually come here. 

76,000 doses of the vaccine came to the nine-county region from the state. 

Those doses will be used up by Monday. 

"What do we know?" Monroe County Executive Adam Bello asked as he started his COVID briefing Wednesday. 

Bello said he knows people are frustrated at their access to the vaccine. 

Bello: "I get that. I want my vaccine too. And if I could get it today I would get it today. But we're not quite there yet."

Bello says they are planning to set up two public vaccine sites that will operate when the state gives our region more vaccine on top of the 76,000 doses our region got since mid-December. 

Dr. Nancy Bennett, Co-chair Finger Lakes Region Vaccine Task Force: "Those 76,000 doses will all be administered into arms by next week. And then we are dependent on what our next supply of vaccine brings to us."

Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services: "Expanding eligibility to the vulnerable is the fastest way to protect the vulnerable."

Tuesday, when the CDC recommended people 65 and older get the shot, the secretary of Health and Human Services said the federal government is releasing all of its vaccine rather than holding second doses in reserve.

But with it came a warning to states. 

In two weeks, the feds will start allocating doses to states based on how fast they get them into peoples' arms. 

Azar: "And it gives states a strong incentive to ensure that doses are going to work protecting people rather than sitting on shelves or freezers."

Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo complained the federal government only gives New York State 300,000 doses a week but the pool of people eligible to get the vaccine in new york now is 7 million. 

We are starting to learn how your children's teachers are going to get vaccinated. 

School superintendents were told Tuesday that Monroe County will open two "mega-pods" for all public employees, including teachers. 
One is at the convention center in downtown Rochester. 

The other at the dome arena in Henrietta. 

Kelly Lalonde, RCSD teacher: "So I was super excited to hear teachers were in this 1b category."

Kelly Lalonde teaches high school English at World of Inquiry in Rochester. 

LaLonde: "And then I'm a little disappointed because apparently there are no vaccines to be had."

According to the RCSD plan, LaLonde returns to the classroom on Feb. 22

Elementary school teachers return Feb. 8. 

Lalonde: "I'm trying to be patient because I know there are people who need it more than I do."

This is what Monroe County Health Commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza, told school superintendents at a meeting Tuesday. 

  • The sign-up process for teachers will start in the next two weeks. 
  • Each mega pod—at the convention center and Dome Arena—will handle thousands of people per day. 
  • It could take 14 weeks to vaccinate everyone in phase 1a and 1b.

Dr. Michael Mendoza, Commissioner of Public Health: "I totally understand that many people want to get in line and be in the front of the line and I would too if I was a teacher. But the reality is, as we've discussed, the supply of vaccine is just not quite there yet."

LaLonde returns to the classroom in the city next month. 

Her union chief thinks the city school district should delay that until all teachers are vaccinated. 

Adam Urbanski, President Rochester Teachers Association: "I think that's simple common sense."

I spoke with the city school district. It says there are no plans to change the return to the classroom. 

Dr. Mendoza says he's meeting with the leaders of private and charter schools soon. 

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