Schenectady and Saratoga counties are gearing up to provide COVID-19 booster shots, just as the state announced it will begin providing more information about COVID breakthrough cases.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday the state has set up two new websites to provide additional information on COVID-19.
“The first focuses on COVID-19 variants, providing public information on how we track variants, why we track variants and updated data,” states a press release from the governor’s office. “The second webpage includes the COVID-19
Breakthrough Data Report, which displays COVID-19 breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and in-depth data over time.”
Saratoga County began providing that information on its webpage in July when breakthrough cases started to emerge.
As of Saturday, there have been 1,248 cases of people who are fully vaccinated getting COVID-19 in the county. In the past week, there were 133.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said no vaccine is 100% effective, getting one can lessen the likelihood of catching COVID or having severe symptoms if you do test positive.
“The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated,” states the CDC’s website.
Of the 133 people with active cases in Saratoga County, 128 are fully vaccinated.
Many of those cases are people 65 and older or people with underlying conditions, said Christine Rush, the Saratoga County director of public relations.
Eleven fully-vaccinated people have died according to county data.
Schenectady County interim Health Director Keith Brown said they are seeing the same trend of older people and those with underlying conditions testing positive even though they’re vaccinated. Brown said those that are getting very sick are by-in-large unvaccinated people.
“We’re seeing on average around 30% of our cases in vaccinated individuals,” said Erin Roberts, the county’s director of public communications.
Brown said the numbers show that there is protection against the virus.
The county has not updated its website to include specific data about breakthrough cases. Brown also would not comment further on whether any of the recent COVID-19 deaths were people who were fully vaccinated, noting it was a privacy issue.
As counties continue to track breakthrough cases, they are also preparing for the go-ahead to begin giving booster shots.
Counties have already been administering third shots to adults who are immunocompromised.
The CDC recommends people 65 and older, those 50-to-64-years-old with underlying conditions and anyone 18 and older in a long term care facility be eligible for a booster shot.
“We’re reaching out to eligible seniors,” Rush said.
She said approval to begin those shots could come as early as this week.
“Our staff is ready and waiting,” she said.
Schenectady County is also preparing clinics for eligible people, Brown said.
“We’re waiting on the state to send specific guidance,” he said.
He added that getting a shot should be a lot easier this time around.
“People should have more options than they first did when vaccines were first rolling out,” he said.
Brown said if someone is uncertain whether they qualify for a third or booster shot, they should ask their physician.
For more information about COVID-19 variants and breakout cases in New York state, visit https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/covid-19-variant-data and https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/covid-19-breakthrough-data-report