HUDSON — Columbia County and Greene County will be vaccinating 16-and 17-year-olds next week.
Columbia, Greene and Warren counties are sharing a tray of the Pfizer vaccine to start vaccinating eligible students.
Columbia County and Greene County said they are going to begin to administer the shots to students next week.
Of the three vaccines approved for use in the United States, Pfizer is the only one deemed eligible to be given to people as young as 16 and 17. The Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines have both been approved for use in people 18 and up.
“I think this is a good thing in the sense that it will get more kids back into school in-person,” Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.
This is the next step in the vaccination process, Linger said. Greene County recently announced it would halt mass vaccination pod events for first doses of the vaccine because demand has fallen off a cliff, following a statewide trend. The county will continue to host targeted vaccine events aimed at specific groups such as students.
One tray of Pfizer contains 1,170 doses of the vaccine, and because none of the three counties had enough 16-and 17-year-olds to use up a full tray, the counties opted to share the doses.
Columbia County Department of Health Director Jack Mabb said that of 950 high school students in the county, 150 are currently signed up for next week’s shots.
“It’s a good start,” he said in a statement.
It is likely more students will sign up for the vaccine now that there are dates and times set for them, to get them Mabb said previously. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds are required to have a signed permission slip from parents or guardians to receive the vaccine. In Columbia County, Mabb said, members of the Department of Health will go into the schools to administer the vaccine.
People 16 or older became eligible to receive the vaccine in New York starting April 6.
In all, the state Vaccine Tracker reports as of Tuesday in Columbia County, 28,569, or about 47.7%, of people in the county have received a first dose of the vaccine and 20,984 county residents have gotten their complete vaccination.
In Greene County, 20,122 people, or 42.4% of the county have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 14,180 people have received their complete vaccination. Across the state, 8.9 million people or about 44.6% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 6.3 million people, or 31.9%, of the state’s population, have finished getting their vaccine.
The Columbia County Department of Health reported a total of 4,064 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently 28 active positive cases in the county, three county residents who are hospitalized because of the virus, one of whom is in the intensive care unit.
Columbia County has 90 residents who are in mandatory quarantine and since the beginning of the pandemic has had 93 COVID-related deaths.
Greene County Public Health reported a total of 3,125 positive COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic. There are currently 68 active cases in the county and 10 county residents who are hospitalized because of the virus and 237 people in the county are in quarantine. Since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 69 COVID-related deaths in Greene County.
On April 9, Pfizer and BioNTech, the companies behind the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, requested amendments to the U.S. Emergency Use Authorization to expand its use for adolescents to people aged 12 to 15. At this time the vaccine has only been approved for people 16 and up.