Campus Vaccine Clinic Draws Hundreds of Students
Nearly 500 SUNY Plattsburgh on- and off-campus students received the first of two COVID vaccinations at the college April 6, the first day those under 30 were broadly eligible for doses in New York state.
The college worked with health departments in Clinton and Essex counties as well as Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh to secure vaccines and set up the clinic in the Memorial Hall gymnasium. Students on Tuesday received the Moderna vaccine. A second dose will be administered May 4.
Dr. Kathleen Camelo, director of the Student Health and Counseling Center and president of the Clinton County Board of Health, said work on setting up Tuesday’s clinic “was literally completed over the weekend. It’s all about getting the vaccine out to our students, preventing illness, getting back to face-to-face. We are one of the first SUNYs to be delivering vaccines to students” on the first day they became eligible.
“It’s great to see our students receiving their first COVID vaccinations,” Camelo said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Timing was of the essence as well, since this was the last week the college — under the supervision and auspices of CVPH — could do the two-dose vaccinations before students leave at the end of the semester.
Students entered Memorial Hall through its side door because ongoing construction has taken the main lobby area off limits. From there, they entered the gymnasium, following in line at socially distanced intervals. CVPH and campus personnel assisted with registration forms then directed students to one of five stations where the vaccinations were administered.
Afterwards, students were directed to a waiting area where they were asked to sit for 15 minutes, making sure they had no adverse reaction to the vaccination. Students will receive an email from the college to sign up for their second-dose appointment.
Zane Ovitt, a freshman education major from Hudson Falls, N.Y., sat in the waiting area after receiving his COVID vaccination.
“I feel like I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for so long — over a year we’ve been waiting for this moment. It’s a pretty great feeling.”
Senior nursing student Mary Noto of Long Island was on hand in Memorial, working with nurses from CVPH to administer the vaccinations.
“I’ve been doing vaccinations for the county since we came back to school in February,” Noto said. “I’ve helped vaccinate the community; now I wanted to help vaccinate our students.”
Noto said it’s a good feeling to be helping in the fight against COVID.
“We seniors get to give back; it’s important to us to take COVID head on and help the community and students get to a place of normalcy,” she said. “One student said to me, ‘Now I can hang out with my family, hang out with my grandparents.’ That’s really special.”
The Essex County Health Department has provided an additional 200 doses, which will be provided to students Thursday, April 8. A second dose would be given May 6.
“We’re also working on setting up more clinics with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” Camelo said. “We’ll share more details when they become available.”