Every day, more and more people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and more and more appointments are becoming available.

It would appear we’re definitely on the right path. As of Thursday afternoon, 41% of the population of Niagara County has received at least one vaccination dose — that’s more than 86,000 residents. More than 61,000 have received their second dose.

The numbers are good, but they can be better. After all, we’re by no means out of the woods yet. The latest numbers from the county health department, on Thursday, showed 102 new COVID-19 cases locally. There are still 634 active cases in the county.

The good news for those still without the vaccine is, it’s never been easier to schedule an appointment.

Just two weeks ago, if you logged on the New York State website, there were no appointments available.

That has changed. Significantly. As of Thursday morning, every site we could easily check — including CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Niagara Falls Conference & Events Center and Buffalo’s Delevan/Grider Community Center — had available appointments within the next few days.

Just last week, a newspaper staff member checked availability at the state-run Conference Center site, late on Thursday night, and had an appointment scheduled for the next morning. They received their shot and were out the door in less than 25 minutes. It couldn’t have gone more smoothly — and no trips to Syracuse or even Erie County were needed.

In Lockport, the county health department is hosting its COVID-19 Point of Dispensing (POD) vaccine clinic this week at the Transit Drive-In.

New first-dose vaccine appointments for eligible individuals 18 years of age and older are available. Appointments can be made by going to niagaracounty.com and clicking on the box that says “COVID-19 Vaccination Info.” Niagara County residents who do not have internet access may call 211 or 1-888-696-9211.

There’s just no reason not to get your shots.

And please don’t argue about efficacy or tell us about the risk with Johnson & Johnson. At the moment, use of the J&J vaccine is on hold in the U.S. as government health officials investigate its possible connection to very rare blood clots. A decision on whether to allow the vaccine to be given could come today but we’re strictly dealing with Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses at this point.

Getting vaccinated, and getting our community on the other side of this horrific pandemic, is of dramatic importance.

Please, step up and get it done. For the good of all of us.

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