COVID-19 mass vaccination site opens in Southern Tier

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JOHNSON CITY, N.Y. (WIVT-TV) – New York State’s COVID-19 mass vaccination site in Johnson City has now begun administering doses.

Inside the massive tents set up in the parking lot of the Binghamton University Foundation building, individuals who are eligible in Phases 1-A and 1-B were able to get their scheduled vaccinations today.

Several B-U administrators were in attendance for the opening, as was New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

Hochul was given a tour of the facility, taken through the process, and says she was told by those getting the vaccine that it has been a seamless process so far.

“Everybody had this sigh of relief. Everybody just, unsolicited to me, just said this was really run well. People are not waiting. They’re scheduling people every 15 minutes, which is plenty of time. They’re actually caught up. So, if you’re one of the lucky ones that can get in this site today and tomorrow, that’s the experience. It’s been very positive,” says Hochul.

BU Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Rose says that, going back to the Vestal campus hosting a COVID testing site since last spring, B-U staff members have been vital in making sure operations run smoothly.

Rose added that when the state came to the university about setting up the vaccination site, they were more than happy to accommodate.

“We were honored and proud to have the opportunity to contribute to state efforts to get New Yorkers vaccinated. Just as New York was a leader in testing at a mass scale, we know New York will lead in delivering vaccinations. It is not just our responsibility, but our privilege to assist,” says Rose.

As of now, the site is administering 500 doses per day, with hopes of boosting it to 1,000 and higher in the coming weeks and months.

However, according to the State of New York website, as of today, there are no longer appointments available at the JC vaccination site.

When asked about whether this was due to booking appointments months in advance, or due to lack of vaccine doses, Hochul cited the latter as the reason.

“We’ve had sites where they’ve actually had to cancel because they booked them. They thought they were getting a certain number, and it just didn’t come. And that’s really sad. When you think you’re all set, and you’re all excited about that. We want to minimize those occurrences. But, so much is out of our hands,” says Hochul.

Similar sites also opened at SUNY campuses in Utica and Buffalo today.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras thanked all the workers for their efforts, and says they’re proud to offer such a vital service to the state.

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