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Onondaga County Will Continue And Adapt Its Vaccination Effort Into The Summer

Onondaga County

Demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Onondaga County is much lower than what it once was. The focus has shifted to reducing vaccine hesitancy and making the shot as accessible as possible to get to herd immunity. County Executive Ryan McMahon says we’re getting there, and the area’s low number of new daily cases is a sign the community is developing immunity. There were 10 new cases Thursday, and McMahon hopes the numbers stay low into the summer.

“Hopefully we’re going to get to where we were in the summer last year, a little better, where we Just a handful of cases. Maybe we get to zero,” said McMahon. “But there’s still levels of risk. Especially with travel, and that’s a big part of our economy coming back. So we need to continue to vaccinate and make sure there’s access."

Vaccination rates are low both within the City of Syracuse and in younger populations. McMahon said there are a number of obstacles to work through with people who are vaccine hesitant. And he’s heard from community leaders about some of the mistakes made during the didn’t help build trust.

“And one of the things that was brought up was the Johnson & Johnson shot. So you look back at it as an effort to vaccinate. Did we collectively as leaders throughout the country make a mistake after 8 out of 7 million people having a reaction to the J&J shot to put it on pause? Based off some feedback I’m receiving; I think we probably did,” said McMahon.

McMahon said there are various factors leading to vaccine hesitancy, and they need to continue their efforts. About 62% of the county’s total population have at least one dose of the vaccine. There are still plenty of way to get a shot, including from state, pharmacy, and county clinics. Information about the vaccine, clinics, and incentives can be found on the county’s website.  

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, poverty, and identity.