SUNY Potsdam will be mass vaccination site

 


By Andy Gardner

POTSDAM – SUNY Potsdam will be a regional COVID-19 vaccination site, and the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department expects to have four more lined up by the end of the week.

Dr. Dana McGuire, St. Lawrence County Public Health director, discussed the development with the county legislature’s operations committee during their Monday, Jan. 11 meeting.

She said they’re seeking five regional sites. The SUNY Potsdam site, at Maxcy hall, will be a New York State-designated regional vaccination site, one of two in the North Country. The other four, which will be located in Massena, Ogdensburg, Star Lake and Gouverneur, will be smaller community clinics designated as points of distribution (PODs), according to Public Health.

Appointments will be open to the public based on vaccine availability. All clinics require appointments. There are no options for walk-ins. In addition to the five community-based clinics, St. Lawrence County will coordinate with hospital partners to create “site-specific” vaccination clinics. Those site-specific clinics will be for groups of people who are eligible for vaccine, but have difficulty with transportation.


The state determines who gets vaccinated and when. They’re doing it in three phases. Right now, we’re in the first phase, which includes three subphases - 1A, 1B and 1C. Phase 1B started Monday, Jan. 11.

Phase 1A included frontline healthcare workers, nursing home residents and nursing home staff.

A new group now eligible for vaccines in phase 1B is anyone age 75 or older. They will be vaccinated by local pharmacies.

Also now eligible for vaccines are first responders or support staff for first responding agencies, corrections officers, probation departments and those working in juvenile detention or rehab facilities, all pre-k through grade 12 school faculty and staff, contractors working in school districts and group childcare.


Also now eligible for vaccinations are in-person college faculty and instructors, employees or support staff in childcare settings, licensed, registered, approved or legally exempt childcare providers, anyone working in public transit, public-facing grocery store workers and anyone living or working in a homeless shelter.

Most of those will be arranged through the employer or union.

People can go online to see if they are eligible for vaccination at https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-vaccine-eligibility.page

There is also a hotline for New York state residents to schedule vaccination appointments. It’s available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week: 1-833-697-4829

The county needs medical and non-medical volunteers for vaccine administration.

Medical volunteers are needed to assist with pre-vaccination screenings, vaccine administration, and post-vaccination monitoring. Needed volunteers in this category include: registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed physicians, licensed physician assistants, licensed pharmacists, midwives, dentists /dental hygienists, podiatrists, EMS/community paramedicine or nursing students and physician assistant students. Governor’s executive order 202.86, released 12/28, also extends permission to retirees who are medical professionals and still in good standing the ability to volunteer


Non-medical volunteers are needed to assist with operations and activities at the vaccination sites, such as registration and check-in, data entry, greeting and routing participants, traffic flow, and other administrative tasks.

Volunteers will work in collaboration with the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department and the local hospital systems to vaccinate county residents. Those interested in volunteering will register through ServNY.

ServNY is a registry of health care and mental health professionals, as well as community residents, who wish to volunteer during a public health emergency or major disaster.

If interested in registering to be either a medical or non-medical volunteer, contact the St. Lawrence County Public Health Volunteer Coordinator at JWatson@stlawco.org or 315-229-3407 or go to https://www.stlawco.org for information on the process.

 

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