New York’s North Country becomes ‘vaccination tourist’ draw

Published: Feb. 16, 2021 at 6:38 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2021 at 7:13 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - The list of New Yorkers who are eligible for vaccinations continues to expand. The state is now is accepting people with underlying health risks for vaccine appointments in addition to anyone 65 and up. The high demand for vaccines has turned Plattsburgh’s state-run clinic into a draw for people from around the state.

Despite snow and tricky driving, a line of cars stretched down Arizona Avenue in Plattsburgh Tuesday morning of those waiting anxiously for their vaccine. “This is a great thing that they are doing,” said Arleen Young of Plattsburgh.

The state-run site is open seven days a week and is distributing an average of one thousand doses a day. Barbara Davis works at the site and says the line of about 70 cars moves along. “Once you’re up this far it usually goes fast,” she said. Davis says she sees New Yorkers from all over coming to Plattsburgh to get their vaccine. “They are coming from New York City, I can tell you that. Our hotels are full. Obviously, we will do anyone in New York state. They are finding this is an easier place to get it. This site is extremely well run.”

Plattsburgh’s site is designed to be a drive-thru, so the person getting the shot never has to leave their car. That’s not the case at all state-run sites. “They want it and if they need to come here to get it, that’s fine with me,” Young said.

While some waiting in line are fine with sharing the 1,000 doses a day allocated for the North Country, Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman is concerned about it. “We have received an equitable number of doses and we have hundreds of thousands of people in the North Country that need to be vaccinated,” he said. Cashman says the reason people are traveling is because of the scarce availability of the vaccine. “When people move out of their territory, all you’re doing is creating chaos and you’re shifting the burden that’s going to prolong the situation.”

Still, those waiting in line regardless of their zip code are ecstatic to see fellow ew Yorkers in line willing to do their part to reach herd immunity. “I do believe this is going to help,” Young said.

Cashman says as the Biden administration is upping doses allocated to states, it should help to keep people in their communities.

Click here for more information on how to register for a vaccination in New York.

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