The Erie County Department of Health is prioritizing its COVID-19 vaccinations in phases.
This comes as more than 2,000 frontline workers received the vaccine across the county.
Here is more on the different phases of the vaccine and who is expected to receive the vaccine next.
Vaccines are rolling out in Erie County to frontline workers and it may not be the most timely manner as more cases arise, but the health department is gearing for the next phases.
The next steps to a sense of normalcy across the county is underway.
“It’s really important not to let your guard down now because we haven’t had that breakthrough of having millions of doses of vaccines available,” said Howard Nadworny, Infectious Disease Specialist.
Erie County is currently in phase 1A which prioritizes COVID-19 vaccinations to healthcare workers and those most vulnerable to the virus.
Phase 1B is expected to prioritize vaccines for critical essential workers which are people over the age of 65, teachers and grocery store workers.
“We need to get through that large group of people before we can get onto a phase to those that are in a high risk settings,” said Charlotte Berringer from the Erie County Health Department.
The third phase will include the general public, but that could take months.
“The reason we talk so much about 1A, 1B, and priorities is because the vaccine roll out is very slow,” said Nadworny.
Healthcare officials believe that the vaccine will still fight against the new strain of COVID-19.
Health department officials said that the last two weeks have been promising as case numbers have slowed down, but the cases could still arise from the holiday season.