It’s not just the vaccination numbers that are low in Erie County, it’s also the low booster rates that are playing an issue in Erie County.

Here’s more information from the Erie County Health Department.

Health officials said that while COVID may not be as lethal anymore, boosters are still important, especially as students return to the classroom.

As of Aug. 1, the Erie County Department of Health is reporting only 30.5% of the local population has received their first COVID-19 booster, and only 7% of the population has received their second booster.

One representative from LECOM said that despite COVID being not as lethal, there are new COVID variants present in Erie County.

“It’s very important to get the second booster shot. I know we’re kind of in an intermediate period where some folks may not have had their booster since the end of last year. Because we’ve seen COVID still at a high prevalence, it’s still important,” said Jim Caputo, Project Associate, LECOM Institute for Successful Aging.

More than 160,000 Erie County residents are fully vaccinated. However, less than 90,000 have received their second booster.

The director of pharmacy at AHN Saint Vincent Hospital said that after more than two years of COVID guidelines, the community may be tired of embracing new safety measures such as boosters.

“Some of the mitigation and prevention strategies have fallen off of the radar, but it doesn’t decrease or reduce the importance for us to continue to educate, to continue to talk about the importance of receiving vaccination, including boosters,” said Stephen Henderson, Director of Pharmacy at AHN Saint Vincent.

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In addition to addressing low booster rates in Erie County, health officials are recommending those who are still unvaccinated to look into where they can receive one.

“We set in to this to try to remove any stumbling block that there possibly could be, and that’s why we do the walk-in and don’t require a long cumbersome appointment process for it and try to make all the vaccines available,” said Caputo.