Elizabeth Burnett sat quietly with her daughter Celleste Burnett Saturday morning in the basement of the Duryee Memorial AME Zion Church on Hulett Street after being one of 76 people to get their first Moderna COVID vaccine dose.
“I’ll be back,” she said, as a nurse checked on how she was feeling before telling her she could leave.
The site is one of several Schenectady County officials are setting up to get people in underserved areas vaccinated.
County Manager Rory Fluman said more clinics are lined up. They include:
- March 25 at the Refreshing Spring Community Church on Georgetta Dix Plaza
- March 26 at the Schenectady Hindu Temple on Pleasant Street
- March 27 at Faith Deliverance Tabernacle on Ostrander Plaza and Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist on Wendell Avenue
- March 31 at New Beginnings Church on State Street
“We do have more churches that we are working to lock down dates to be announced soon,” Fluman said.
Elizabeth Burnett had originally planned to travel to Albany to receive the vaccine on April 3, but then her daughter heard about the one happening in their neighborhood — in Elizabeth’s church. So, they went to the church instead.
“I’m glad you found out about it,” Elizabeth Burnett said.
Celleste Burnett said the location worked out perfectly for many people in the neighborhood who don’t have cars to drive to Albany.
Even though Jean Kirschenheiter has a car, she said transportation is the biggest obstacle to some people getting the vaccine.
“I just felt like Schenectady didn’t have enough resources until now,” she said. “They need to keep this up.”
Lisa McKay drove in from Colonie but was not familiar with any clinics in town. She liked the idea of Schenectady County reaching communities through local oulets.
“When you provide vaccines in a location you know is a trusted source it makes it easier to get people to accept the vaccination,” she said.
She also said the nurses at the church were great.
“I didn’t even know it was over,” she said.
More than five million people in New York have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to a news release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
There was one death in Saratoga County Friday.
However, the state is continuing to see declines in hospitalizations, which dropped to about 4,500–the lowest hospitalizations have been since Dec. 5. The number of people in an intensive care unit has also decreased to the lowest number of people since Dec. 6 and intubations remain below 600, the lowest it has been since Dec. 13.
“New Yorkers have fought through this pandemic by being vigilant, and even though the vaccine is here, we need everyone to continue being smart until we’re able to vaccinate everyone who wants it,” Cuomo said. “We are working 24/7 to get vaccines into arms quickly, safely and equitably — and we will not rest until that’s done. In the meantime, everyone should continue washing their hands, staying socially distanced and masking up. We’re going to get through this and defeat the COVID beast together, but there’s more work to be done before we get to the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Correction 3/24: The Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist location, the location of a March 27 clinic, is on Wendell Avenue, not Strong Street as originally identified.