March 12, 2021
ASSEMBLYMAN GIGLIO FRUSTRATED WITH VACCINE DISTRIBUTION INEQUITY
“The continued mistreatment of rural communities in Western New York during the COVID-19 pandemic is unconscionable.
“Our region has been subjected to the same standards as Buffalo and more densely populated areas in the early stages of the pandemic, and we were shut down needlessly when our communities had fewer active cases and deaths than those larger population centers. Now, however, when it comes to vaccine distribution, we have been shortchanged again with the recent vaccination clinic in Olean, which was touted as an effort to correct inequities in vaccination rates for our rural communities.
“Rural communities like ours deserve equal and fair treatment. Vaccine clinics throughout the state, from Buffalo to New York City, have been restricted by zip codes to ensure that the underserved populations are given prioritized access to vaccines.
“The recent clinic in Olean, which was supposed to correct unequal distribution and provide opportunities for residents of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Allegany counties to be vaccinated, did not limit registration dependent upon zip code resulting in nearly a quarter of available vaccines being administered to individuals living outside the three rural counties of Western New York. Of the total, 42% of recipients were from Cattaraugus County, 24% from Chautauqua County, and 10% from Allegany County, which remains the county with the lowest percentage of the population vaccinated in the entire state.
“Our region faces unique issues: geographic isolation, lack of public transportation, an aging and compromised population, and economic distress. Our rural communities have been neglected for far too long, and it must stop.” said Giglio.