Vaccine clinics at odds with changing demographics leave Warren County with extra doses

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(Johnson & Johnson via AP)

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Wednesday, Warren County Health Services experienced two firsts.

One was their first vaccine clinic to substitute canceled Johnson & Johnson doses with other varieties, as the variant has been recalled this week.

The other was the first time they’ve ended a clinic and still had doses left over.

Warren County spokesman Don Lehman said one probable cause of the 60 or so leftover Moderna doses on Wednesday was the short-notice nature of the clinic.

“It was kind of publicized as short notice, about two days,” Lehman said. “Now I think we probably have to schedule a little further out.”

Lehman said scheduling hasn’t been a problem before now, but that as the remaining population in need of a vaccine skews younger, there are different factors at play than for seniors.

“In the past, we were getting people who were willing to take the time off from work, they were motivated to do it,” he said. “Now we’re getting to the people where maybe it’s a convenience thing.”

Another issue is transportation. Warren County has its community centers, but is still largely rural overall.

Most county clinics held so far have taken place at the Warren County Municipal Center, SUNY Adirondack, or Queensbury Town Hall, all of which are within the county’s more populous southern end. That can be a challenge for residents of places like Hague or North Creek.

Currently, around 45 percent of residents have had their first dose, and 35 percent are fully vaccinated. One big step still to go is getting doses approved for those under the age of 16.

As for what to do with the leftovers, Warren County is looking into redistributing doses to other clinics, like a planned one at SUNY Adirondack, and some schools.

“It’s probably about enough to do a clinic of its own right now, but the good news is there are some groups that can use it,” Lehman said.

Lehman also pointed out that pharmacies through the region also have a lot of doses available.

Wednesday’s clinic replaced one originally planned to serve SUNY Adirondack, SUNY Plattsburgh and Queensbury Union Free School District on Friday, filling in a gap of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Lehman said that as inconvenient as the Johnson & Johnson recall is, it shows something important.

“It shows the process is working. Someone is paying attention to this, and it’s not just being rushed through.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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