NY National Guard will be on SUNY Potsdam campus to help set up mass vaccination site
POTSDAM — The New York National Guard will be on the SUNY Potsdam campus starting today, Wednesday, Jan. 13 to assist with setting up the regional COVID-19 vaccination clinic.
The clinic, which the SUNY Potsdam President Kristen Esterberg in an email says will be in the Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse, is set to open next week. It will be available by appointment only. The complete email is at the end of this article.In addition to the SUNY Potsdam site, the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department is in the process of setting up community clinics in Massena, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur and Star Lake.
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 65 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 [email protected] or 315-229-3407 or go to https://www.stlawco.org for information on the process.
Here is Esterberg’s complete email announcing the National Guard presence on campus:
We are pleased to share that SUNY Potsdam will soon be hosting a New York State vaccination site to serve our North Country region. As we support our community in the fight against COVID-19, the College has offered our facilities to house an appointment-based free vaccination site in the Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse, which is set to open to eligible community members with appointments next week. More details about the clinic will be forthcoming.
Please note that as our state and local partners prepare the clinic, we will have members of the New York National Guard on campus beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, January 13. They will primarily be in and around the Maxcy Hall Athletic Complex, assisting with set-up of the clinic.
New York State has provided updated guidance on the initial phases of vaccine distribution. In Phases 1a and 1b, you will notice that in-person college instructors are now eligible to be immunized. As of today, all individuals age 65 and older are also eligible, in addition to a number of other groups.
You can complete the screening form here to find out if you are eligible to receive a vaccine at this time. Please note that the site does not yet support scheduling appointments in our area. As soon as we have more information about this process, we will share it with the campus community.
Individuals who are 65 and older will be eligible to receive their vaccinations through Kinney Drugs. The Kinney Drugs website indicates that all vaccine appointments are currently booked, however, you can keep checking their site for details and updates.
While our first groups of eligible faculty and staff have already been vaccinated or have been notified of their options to schedule an appointment, we know that many of you who are newly eligible or waiting to become eligible are anxious for more information. As soon as we have more details on eligibility, appointment reservations and our campus vaccination site, we will share them with you. Please note at this time under SUNY policies and guidance, the COVID-19 vaccine is voluntary and you do not need to notify Human Resources of your immunization.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use have been shown to be both safe and effective through the initial clinical trials. Vaccination will help prevent you from being infected, and therefore vaccines are one of the most important tools for fighting the pandemic. Please remember though that two doses are required, and immunity will not set in until approximately two weeks after the final dose.
As the CDC reminds us, even as more members of our campus community are vaccinated, the other public health measures and campus policies will continue to be critical to stopping the spread of the virus—including ongoing mandated surveillance testing, daily symptoms screenings, physical (social) distancing, and wearing face coverings in all public spaces. All employees, regardless of your vaccination status, will be required to continue to comply with these same expectations to ensure a safe and successful semester.
Thank you all for your patience and assistance, as we take these important steps forward in slowing the momentum of this pandemic.
Kristin G. Esterberg, Ph.D.
Director of Human Resources”