Covid-19 vaccination rates continued to climb across New York State over the weekend as children ages 5 to 11 began to receive their first smaller dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration authorized such doses for children in that age range last month.
Oishei Children's Hospital and the Erie County Health Department teamed up to offer a vaccination clinic for 5- to 11-year-olds who became eligible for the vaccine Wednesday.
"The weather is getting colder, and friends and family will be spending more time indoors, increasing the risk of transmission and threatening the incredible progress we've made so far," Gov. Kathy Hochul said Sunday afternoon as she reported almost 111,500 new vaccines were given during the previous 24 hours.
Nearly three in four state residents have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. At least 88.2% of adults statewide have received at least one dose, and 79.2% have been fully vaccinated.
News wasn’t all promising. The state reported 25 deaths from Covid-19 on Saturday, including three in Erie County and one in Niagara County.
The five-county Western New York region – comprising Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties – reported 680 new cases of Covid-19, including 448 in Erie County.
Regionally, the seven-day positive test rate stood at 6.29%, the highest since late January. It was second highest in the state after the Finger Lakes region, at 6.48%.
The Western region benchmark was more than double the statewide average of 2.53% and five times higher than in New York City, where 1.11% of Covid-19 tests came back positive, the lowest statewide.
More than 1,800 people remained hospitalized statewide over the weekend, including 392 in intensive care and 229 on ventilators.
"The vaccine is the way out of this pandemic,” Hochul said, “and I encourage parents and guardians to please get your children vaccinated soon so we can all enjoy the holidays safely this year."