Jun. 26—LOWVILLE — Lewis County officials are reaching out to the community to get COVID-19 vaccination numbers up but not just by getting more shots in arms.
They want to make sure every resident vaccination is counted, too.
The county Public Health Department has issued a request for residents that received vaccinations outside of the state to report and show proof of the vaccine so it can be counted "toward the 70% goal for Lewis County."
Residents that call Public Health to report their vaccine will be asked to provide basic identifying information and proof of their vaccination done in another state in the form of a vaccination card or vaccine record which can either be brought to the department in person or emailed in a photo.
Vaccinated people whose information is entered into the state system then become eligible for an Excelsior Pass, which is a free, secure method of providing proof of vaccination which can be required in some establishments or at some functions.
The pass also offers proof of negative test results.
During a vaccine update given to legislators on the Health and Human Services Committee earlier this month, Public Health Director Ashley Waite gave updated vaccination statistics for the county, showing more than 2,000 people have to be vaccinated in order for Lewis to reach the 70% goal.
In the ensuing discussion questions arose about whether or not people vaccinated outside of the county are included in the tally.
Mrs. Waite said all vaccinations done in the state, whether with Public Health, at a pharmacy, a state vaccination site or other institution regardless of county, it is included in the tally for the county of residence.
For out of state vaccinations, however, she said that isn't automatic.
"'Snow birds' that may have been vaccinated in Florida (and) report to either their doctor or us, so we can put it in the New York State registry, or if their doctor puts it in their medical record, that data is reflected in the data I've shown you."
If however, county residents did not report their out-of-state vaccination locally, they are not included in the county's statistics.
"Probably a lot of snowbirds have not taken that step... so the numbers could be a lot higher." Board Chairman Lawrence Dolholf speculated.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday, according to the state Vaccination Tracker website, 10,474 people, or 39.6%, of all 26,447 county residents are fully vaccinated and 10,997 people, or 41.58%, of the total population, have received the first shot.
Residents interested in reporting out-of-state vaccines or looking for more information about the vaccine can call Public Health at 315-376-5453.
Vaccinated people interested in knowing more about or registering for an Excelsior Pass can go to https://epass.ny.gov