Onondaga County To Try Pre-Registering Seniors For Next Delivery of COVID Vaccine

Jan 25, 2021

The state's vaccination site at the Fairground's Expo Center opened Jan. 13.
Credit Governor Cuomo's Flickr page

Onondaga County is working on a way to make sure more seniors are able to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when the next shipment arrives.  County Executive Ryan McMahon says they’re looking at a pre-registration system followed by a lottery so technology-challenged seniors don’t fall through the cracks.

"Out of the appointments that come available, there are so many seniors who don't get a chance at it.  We're trying to level the playing field the best we can.  This is frustrating.  This is very emotional.  People want to know why they're not getting a shot, and they're scared, and they want their lives back."

McMahon says seniors are still competing with other groups, such as law enforcement, teachers, and others eligible for the vaccine.  He says they’re expecting about 1,000 doses of Moderna to arrive Tuesday, 100 more than last week.  The pre-registration aims to set aside some of those slots for seniors.  The county will then draw names and set up appointments, hopefully with the help of Kinney Drugs and other partners.

Meanwhile, about 275 seniors were inoculated Monday at AME Zion Church at a pop-up clinic on the city’s south side to ensure equitable distribution of the vaccine.  McMahon says it’s essential for African Americans to have access.

"For us to have herd immunity as a county, but specifically to make sure that these communities that in many ways have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, [there has to be] credible messengers out there."

…messengers to show potentially skeptical neighbors that the vaccine is available and safe.  McMahon says the COVID infection rate continues to fall, with cases in the 200’s over the past week, compared to the 300's and 400's earlier in the month.  But it’s no less deadly:  the disease claimed another five lives Sunday into Monday.