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NY health officials take vaccination clinics on the road

Published: May. 12, 2021 at 3:54 PM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH TOWN, N.Y. (WCAX) - Clinton County, New York, health officials say that 60% of vaccine eligible people living in the county have received at least the first dose of the COVID vaccine, well on the way to their goal of vaccinating 70% or more of the population. Now, officials are taking clinics on the road and partnering with nonprofits to bring the vaccine to all corners of the county.

Amanda Bulris-Allen with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Champlain Valley is going door-to-door in several Plattsburgh Town neighborhoods to make sure residents were aware of a vaccination clinic happening nearby. “We’re asking folks if they are interested in the COVID 19 vaccination, " she said. “I think at this point in time, folks who are hesitant about the vaccine are really looking for that face-to-face interaction.”

NAMI has teamed up with the Clinton County Health Department for its mobile clinics, making sure everyone in the county has access to the vaccine if they want it. The locations of the clinics are based on a map that shows pockets in the county with lower vaccination rates. “We can look at the map and travel out to locations where we see might need a clinic or a pop-up like this in their area,” said the health department’s Molly Flynn.

This clinic was set up Wednesday at Northern Cakes Redemption, a walkable location with a steady stream of customers. “It’s maybe something that wasn’t in the plans for the day, ‘But you haven’t been vaccinated yet and you have a couple of minutes and you happen to see us, you can stop in. It will take less than 20 minutes,’” Flynn said.

People like Reginald Defoe, who wanted a vaccine but says he had no transportation to get one. NAMI picked him up at home and drove him to the clinic. “You’ve got people that can bring you, it helps,” Defoe said. He says he wanted to get the shot to protect his loved ones who are vulnerable to the virus. “That’s the most important thing with this shot, to save peoples’ lives.”

The Clinic looks different than it has in the past. Once set up to vaccinate hundreds of people in a day, it now operates on a much smaller scale. “We would love to see to see those numbers, but now we are looking at smaller clinics as we travel out, going to more locations,” Flynn said.

Bulris-Allen says changing one “no” to a “yes” when it comes to the vaccine makes their efforts worth it. “I think one person makes a difference,” she said.

The clinic is in a new location every week. It also returns to communities to give those people their second doses. The Health Department says for those still on the fence about getting the vaccine, they recommend talking with your doctor, or health provider to get the correct answers to your questions.

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