Erie County needs more vaccine doses

By Bee Group Newspapers | on February 11, 2021Frank J. Todaro

 With the new year in full swing, I’ve made sure to hit the ground running between focusing on issues that matter to Erie County taxpayers and staying busy throughout the community I am proud to represent. While the vaccine rollout provides a glimmer of hope, unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t in the rearview mirror just yet. This is why I am strongly advocating to get more vaccine doses to Erie County so we can bolster our protection and return to normalcy sooner rather than later. We need to prioritize public health while getting our local economy back on track.

During a meeting with Department of Health Commissioner Gale Burstein several weeks ago, she noted that Erie County has the resources to administer 2,200 doses a day, but the county is only receiving 1,700. This is a problem. I am calling on the federal government to supply more vaccine doses to Erie County, and I’m calling on the state government to do a better job communicating with leaders at all levels. People who thought they’d be receiving their dose in the first round were frustrated and disappointed to learn that the county had to cancel their appointments due to a low supply. Getting this situation sorted out and getting people vaccinated must be the number one priority right now. I’m happy to share the resolution I introduced on this matter passed the Legislature with unanimous support, and I hope to see an improvement in vaccine availability as soon as possible.

Another issue I am keeping an eye on is the recent discovery that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office misrepresented nursing home death totals. According to an investigation launched by the Attorney General’s office, thousands of nursing home patient deaths were not counted as such if the individual died in a hospital. This is dishonest, shameful and completely unacceptable. We need to get to the bottom of how these numbers were “miscalculated” and exactly who is responsible. For that reason, my colleagues and I have extended an invitation to New York State Attorney General Letitia James to come to Buffalo and present her findings to the Erie County Legislature. Residents, lawmakers and most importantly, nursing home patients and their loved ones deserve answers. We have made contact with the Attorney General’s office and hope to hear from her soon.

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