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North Country vaccination rate is 2nd lowest of New York regions

Nurse Gail Lautenschuetz, of Lake Placid, administers a dose of coronavirus vaccine to Alan Dabiew of North Bangor on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the North Country Community College gym in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Elizabeth Izzo)

The North Country has the second-lowest vaccination rate of any region in New York.

The revelation came Tuesday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that 70% of New Yorkers statewide had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The North Country is a bit lower, with only 64% of residents at least partially vaccinated Several counties in the area still have less than half of residents vaccinated, including Jefferson, Lewis, Herkimer and Franklin.

Despite the lower regional numbers, state-mandated restrictions were lifted this week by Cuomo.

“All across the board, we can get back to living,” Cuomo beamed.

“Businesses can open because the state mandates are gone. Social gathering restrictions, the capacity restrictions, the health screenings, the cleaning and disinfecting protocols, that is now voluntary and it’s up to individuals in places, but the mandates are gone.”

More than 11 million New Yorkers are at least single-dose vaccinated. Nearly 10 million are fully immunized.

Federal public health mandates like requiring masks on public transit will remain in place, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still directing unvaccinated residents to wear masks in public.

New York state’s mask mandate for public schools also remains in effect, a decision that was criticized by Republicans in the state legislature.

There is still no vaccine approved for children under the age of 12 still in the United States.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have now passed the 70% vaccination threshold, which President Joe Biden set as a nationwide goal for the Fourth of July.

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