New York Governor Kathy Hochul says she will leave it up to local health departments to run COVID booster shot programs.

She says the state is providing $65-million to localities to build infrastructure to manage their programs. The Democrat says localities have a good idea of how to handle giving shots to their residents as opposed to going back to centralized, state-run vaccination centers as had been the case last winter.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar says he had been advocating for local control from the start of the pandemic last year whether it be in testing, contact tracing or giving vaccinations.  The Democrat says Broome was one of a handful of local governments that stepped in to open their own vaccination Point of Distribution or “POD” and had stepped forward with the innovative approach to testing by converting a B-C Transit bus into a mobile testing unit.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Meanwhile, with the new resurgence of cases in the county, Broome this week began notifying County Departments that staff from outside the Health Department will be called in to step up tracing operations again. New York State Health tracers are also being remobilized to help with local efforts.

Garnar, during a briefing with reporters August 31, said the vast majority of people who are coming down with COVID now are unvaccinated. He says over 90 percent of those in the hospital are unvaccinated.

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The Executive says he is disappointed with just over 60 percent of the overall county population currently having gotten at least one dose.  He says he wishes that number were higher and again encourages people to get the shot, especially now that the Pfizer vaccine has gained full Food and Drug Administration approval, taking that excuse away from residents who were on the fence, waiting for general use approval.

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