SUNY Potsdam Proud to Help Support North Country Neighbors and New Yorkers as Host of New York State Vaccination Clinic
The North Country healthcare heroes working day and night at the New York State vaccination site based in SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse are now approaching 45,000 shots administered, in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. As the eligibility criteria continue to expand, more and more New Yorkers are able to be protected against the virus by receiving their free immunization at the clinic, which is staffed by nurses, healthcare workers, volunteers and National Guard officers on hand to keep the site running smoothly.
“I can’t help but reflect on the significance of hosting such an important function to support our community in a time of need. Since our founding in 1816, SUNY Potsdam has had many such moments, from weathering the 1918 influenza epidemic together, to sheltering families in this same facility during the 1998 ice storm. The bottom line is, we are in this together, as one community. While we may just be a building or a location to some, we feel proud to be a small part of history in helping to turn the tide on this virus—and a part of the hope that we all need,” said President Dr. Kristin G. Esterberg.
Nurses are now administering approximately 2,000 vaccines a day in the Maxcy Hall Fieldhouse—with staff available to assist with registration upon arrival, observe patients for any adverse reactions and help those with accessibility needs. Nearly 400,000 shots have been administered at 32 SUNY campuses across the state to date.
Hosting the vaccination site doesn’t come without sacrifices from the campus community, Esterberg said. Cleaning and custodial staff have worked hard to prepare and maintain the facility, while staff from other campus areas have been pulled in to assist with feeding the National Guard staff and volunteers, and provide security and IT support. Courses that are normally offered in the Fieldhouse and adjacent Ice Arena had to be reworked, and the Potsdam Bears men’s and women’s hockey teams have had to relocate their practices to other locations.
The state site is open to any New Yorker with an appointment, and some have traveled hours to receive their vaccinations—including alumni who hadn’t been back to campus in years. Eligible SUNY Potsdam faculty, staff and students are able to sign up for appointments just like everyone else, and as the criteria have expanded, even more are expected to take advantage. At the same time, the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department is hosting its own pop-up sites in other locations and offering services to assist people who may face barriers when it comes to traveling to Potsdam or using the Internet to sign up for an appointment.
“My soldiers are proud to be a part of this site. It’s the first time in many of their careers where they are able to see real and tangible results of the work they are doing. Like many of the people getting vaccinated, my soldiers are from all walks of life. Many are from New York City and happy to help their North Country brethren. Others are locals who are honored to help their North Country neighbors. We have received many praise for the work we are doing and we are forever grateful and thankful for everyone’s support. We strive to keep the process easy and simple to get as many folks through as we can! As our commanding general told us when he visited the site, 'This is the beginning of the end.' We are proud to be a part of what needs to get done to make all of our lives go a little bit back to normal,” said Capt. Alex Hammond, commander of the New York Army Reserve National Guard unit posted to the Potsdam vaccination site. Hammond is also an appointed member of SUNY Potsdam’s College Council.
To learn more about eligibility requirements and phases of distribution, visit https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/.
For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s vaccination site, including answers to frequently asked questions, visit www.potsdam.edu/vaccine.
About SUNY Potsdam:
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit www.potsdam.edu.