'Turning point': NY COVID-19 vaccination site opens in Broome County
Ten months after Broome County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, the Southern Tier’s first mass vaccination opened Tuesday in Johnson City, the only state-run site in the Southern Tier.
The New York State-operated vaccination site is located at 10 Gannett Drive, adjacent to Walmart and across the street from CJF Park. Binghamton University recently purchased the former Gannett Central New York Production Facility, and it will temporarily host one of the state's 13 mass vaccination sites.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul attended the opening of the vaccination clinic, calling it a "turning point in the war against COVID."
Last week, frustrations mounted over voided appointments, website difficulties and concerns about the availability of the vaccine, but by the weekend residents began to access the site and make appointments.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials are concerned about the flow of vaccines from the federal government. Cuomo said Monday it could take six months or more to get shots to the 7 million residents already eligible under federal guidelines, let alone the roughly 12 million other New Yorkers.
In Broome County, many eligible for the vaccine found there were no appointment available when they tried to reserve a time through the Broome County Health Department website.
But as of Tuesday morning, the New York State COVID-19 website am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov lists Johnson City as one of several mass vaccination sites with available appointments. SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica is also listed as having available appointments.
To be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in New York State, individuals must currently meet the certain criteria, such as being age 65 or older or being an essential worker like police, firefighters and teachers, or those who are immunocompromised.
Hochul also said the state is planning to set up "pop-up pods" in urban neighborhoods, giving vaccine access to Black and other minority communities hardest hit from the pandemic.
"I want to reassure everyone," Hochul said. "New York State has the plan in place."
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