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Potential Of Federal Vaccine Site In Syracuse Could Help Groups With Low Vaccination Rates

Onondaga County Executive's Office

A federally-funded vaccine clinic run by Syracuse Community Health Center could improve the lagging vaccination rates within some Syracuse zip codes. Senator Chuck Schumer announced Thursday $32 billion would be allocated to community health clinics across New York State to operate as points of distribution and supplied directly by the federal government.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said data is clear that vaccination rates in Black and Hispanic communities are still lagging, and this would provide more consistent supply to affected neighborhoods.

“Pop-up clinics to date have been somewhat dependent on state supply. So this would be driving more supply into facilities within the areas where we haven’t reached as well. So, I am pleased with that,” said McMahon.

McMahon said he is talking with Syracuse Community Health Center leaders, but when vaccinations will start and who will be eligible at the sites is still to be determined.

Over 125,000 Onondaga County residents have received at least the first dose of a vaccine. McMahon is happy the Governor opened eligibility up, but thinks he could go further. The County Executive earlier in the week suggested lowering the eligibility age to 50.

“I do believe we will get through this week coming up with the existing eligibility. But then it will start to get a little bit harder to fill appointments again. So I do think that, hopefully next week the state will loosen up some of those requirements again,” said McMahon.

McMahon would also like to see those working in agriculture and manufacturing jobs become eligible. The county will open appointments for Monday and Tuesday vaccine clinics soon. McMahon expects to know how much supply they will receive next week sometime this weekend. 

Katie Zilcosky is WAER’s All Things Considered host and features reporter. She also co-hosts WAER’s public affairs show Syracuse Speaks. As a reporter, she focuses on technology, economy, and identity.