(WBNG) -- Even after people get vaccinated, officials told 12 News they're unsure if the coronavirus will continue to exist.
According to the state vaccine tracker, more than 135,000 Southern Tier residents have received at least one dose of one of the vaccines, roughly 40% of the region's population.
However, officials don't expect 100% of people to get the vaccine, opening the possibility it will continue to exist in some form in the future.
Health officials said when a pandemic occurs, it usually ends one of two ways, and they don't know how this one will play out.
"Some emerging diseases we see flash into a pandemic and go away and can be almost totally eradicated like polio, smallpox, some of these others we've had effective vaccines for a really long time," said Isaiah Sutton, Chenango County's Director of Environmental Health. "Others, like the flu, even though we've had a relatively effective vaccine, there's an endemic level right; we always have a certain number of flu cases."
Officials said the more people get vaccinated, the lower the chances the novel coronavirus will become endemic. It's also unclear at this point if people will need a booster shot for the COVID vaccine.