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Health & Medicine

Onondaga County's Vaccine Efforts Will Slow Down Without Expanded Eligibility

Katie Zilcosky

A plan to address vaccine hesitancy will have to wait until Onondaga County is allowed to vaccinate all adults willing to get a shot. County Executive Ryan McMahon said Thursday his staff needs a complete dataset before developing a plan for outreach and micro targeting communities. Vaccine eligibility is currently limited to those 50 and older, people with comorbidities or people with certain jobs.


McMahon said the region has stabilized, low levels of virus transmission and enough vaccine supply to open up vaccination to all.

“We shouldn’t be paralyzed in Central New York because other parts of the state aren’t vaccinating at the same rates," said McMahon. "Or other parts of the state have more government workers that still need to be vaccinated, or more people in these demographics. We should be allowed to take care of our community.”

The county is opening its vaccine pre registration list up to those 30 and older. McMahon said that will give the county a better idea of how many people want the vaccine, and access to a list of people to reach out to in case of extra doses. When eligibility opens, those on the list will receive an email from the county to make an appointment. 

About 43% of Onondaga County adults have received at least the first dose of a vaccine, but reaching herd immunity will require at least 70% of people vaccinated. McMahon said without increased eligibility, the county’s march to herd immunity will slow.

“To be quite honest with you, the 50 and above, the 50 to 60 demographic, slowing down big time. Big time. So I think that demographic’s already been somewhat exhausted,” said McMahon.

McMahon is encouraging people to take a closer look at eligibility requirements, specifically comorbidities, to see if they can get a shot. Vaccine appointments can be scheduled on the county's website.