Snow, ice delay COVID vaccines

A man is vaccinated against for COVID-19 at a downstate mass vaccination site. Tribune News Service

LOWVILLE — Lewis County COVID-19 vaccination numbers indicate the county and hospital are reaching people, getting “shots in arms” and are only slowed by limited dose numbers.

County Manager Ryan R. Piche issued a news release with vaccination statistics for county residents Tuesday showing that 2,835, or more than 10% of Lewis County residents, have received the first dose of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. Of that number, 891 people have been given their second shot thus far.

Based on the American Community Survey five-year estimates made in 2019 by the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s population is about 26,572 people.

Residents have gone to a number of sources for their vaccinations, including other area hospitals, vaccination clinics, pharmacies, public health departments both locally and in other counties, as well as state-run sites, including the north country site in Potsdam.

Lewis County Public Health and the Lewis County Health System gave shots to the most residents, almost 31% and 25%, respectively, followed by Kinney Drugs in all north country locations combined at almost 20% — half of which was at the Lowville branch.

While senior citizens 65 years and older make up an estimated 18% of the Lewis County population, Mr. Piche noted that group makes up 51% of the total number of vaccinated individuals.

To date, 1,445 senior residents of Lewis County have been vaccinated, representing 30% of all seniors in the community, Mr. Piche said.

In the nursing home that’s part of the health system, 140 people received their shots.

People in their 60s rolled up their sleeves most often at this point, totaling 607, while only 14 people 20 years old or younger did the same.

Four centenarians living in the county also were vaccinated.

The information Mr. Piche provided came from the state Immunization Information System. People who were vaccinated in the county but are not residents were not included in the statistics.

County residents that were immunized outside of the state are also not included.

Although the county’s public health department is prepared to provide vaccinations at a more rapid rate, Mr. Piche said doses are simply not available at this time for general distribution.

“To those waiting anxiously for a vaccine, your patience is appreciated. We understand the registration system can be frustrating, but know that we are making progress,” he said, “There are currently zero appointments available ... Once the county is given additional supply, our operation will scale up to serve more residents.”

To date, no vaccines have been wasted — “thrown out or sent back to New York state” — by the health system or public health in the county.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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