Why rural New York counties face vaccination challenges

Why rural New York counties face vaccination challenges

Almost one in five of the 50,000 residents of Montgomery County is over 65 years of age. But the small, largely rural county between Albany and Utica only receives about 100 or 200 doses of the vaccine per week.

Deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine has been a challenge across New York City. Officials in rural counties with an aging population face a particularly demanding test to ensure that vaccines reach older residents, some of whom may not be able to drive to different parts of the country. ” State where mass vaccination site Was established.

Thousands of county residents lined up to get vaccinated.

“We have over 5,000 people on the waiting list,” Montgomery County Manager Matt Ossenfort said in an interview. “It was at 6,000. We made a dent in it. Finally, it starts to drop a bit. But for many weeks there, the waiting list grew faster than we could immunize.

Rural counties with older residents faced a particularly difficult time during the pandemic. Census data shows that 19% of Montgomery County residents are over 65, which qualifies them for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The county has had to prioritize the few precious doses it receives, first to essential workers. In the meantime, mass vaccination sites are hours of driving.

“A teacher, for example, might be able to drive to Plattsburgh or drive to Utica or might be able to drive to Albany to get that shot,” Ossenfort said. “But an 85-year-old resident who could…

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