ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – COVID-19 cases across New York State, including the Southern Tier, are surging as vaccination rates come to a standstill.

“We need to get those second doses in and we need to increase [the number of people] who are seeking their primary series,” Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith said.

Across New York State, vaccination rates have remained at exactly 95-percent since Dec. 22, 2021. It’s a similar story in the Southern Tier – the region has only seen a slight uptick in inoculation rates over the past 60 days.

Currently, Chemung County’s vaccination rate is 55-percent. Steuben and Schuyler counties have a vaccination rate of roughly 66-percent.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control, as well as other health experts, have warned against vaccine misinformation. Dean of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Dr. Richard Terry told 18 News the reason for the Southern Tier’s low and now frozen vaccination rate is false information.

“There’s just still so much misinformation on vaccinations,” Terry said. “It continues to be propagated, mostly on the internet. You can find just about anything you want on the internet to agree with you.”

Terry, along with numerous scientists and healthcare professionals, continues to emphasize that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.

“I’m trying to remain optimistic,” Smith said. “But honestly, I think at this point in the pandemic where there are two groups of people. There are those who have gotten the vaccine because they believe in it, and there are those who more than likely will never get the vaccine because they don’t believe in the importance of it.”