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Alplaus hosts COVID vaccine clinic to combat low vaccination rate

Philip Alexander of Ballston Spa gets his Pfizer booster vaccine from RN Meghan Martterer of the Schenectady County Public Health Department on Thursday evening at the Alplaus Fire House.
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Philip Alexander of Ballston Spa gets his Pfizer booster vaccine from RN Meghan Martterer of the Schenectady County Public Health Department on Thursday evening at the Alplaus Fire House.

ALPLAUS – Phil Alexander, a Ballston Spa resident, waited with his doctor’s note in hand Thursday evening outside the Alplaus Fire House where a COVID vaccination clinic was being held.

He was one of about a dozen residents who turned out right away for the clinic put on by the Alplaus Residence Association in conjunction with Schenectady County Public Health Services. 

The community decided to hold the clinic after noticing the zip code encompassing Alplaus – 12008 – had one of the lowest vaccination rates in the county at only 47.8%, said Bob Winchester, who helped coordinate the event. That is compared to the 12309 zip code, which contains neighborhoods from Niskayuna and Schenectady’s Upper Union Street, which had the highest vaccination rate of 75.2%

“We decided we needed to do something about that,” Winchester said about the low rate. 

He said many people have misconceptions about the vaccine and so staff were on hand to answer questions as well. 

But for people with immunocompromised systems the clinic served as a great opportunity for them to get their third dose. 

Alexander, who has neurosarcoidosis, a chronic illness of the central nervous system encompassing the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve, called the opportunity a “miracle.”  

He said people should think about getting the shot for the sake of children. 

“If you want to get kids back to school you got to get vaccinated,” he said. “If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for the children.”

Raymond Soto of Rotterdam also visited the clinic to get his third shot as an immunocompromised person. 

“I ain’t afraid of it,” he said. “I’d rather be safe than sorry.”

He said anyone who is afraid to get it shouldn’t be. 

“There’s nothing to it,” he said. “Get it and get it over with. The sooner you do, the sooner we can get over this.”

Winchester said he hoped by having well-known figures in the community endorse the vaccine it would help some people make the move to get vaccinated. One of the people that supported the vaccine was 99-year-old Alplaus resident Mary Herrick. 

“My thoughts are with the healthcare people,” she said in a press release about the event. “At my age of 99 we depend on them to keep us well and strong. We should all be vaccinated to protect them as well as ourselves.”

Winchester said getting the vaccine is about the community. 

“We do this to protect the lives of our children, our grandchildren, our neighbors and our friends,” Winchester said. 

Hospitals across the country are continuing to see increases in COVID cases. COVID patients now make up 12% of the people using inpatient beds in the over 5,800 hospitals reporting to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to its website.

The vaccine has prevented nearly 140,000 COVID deaths in the U.S., according to a release by the National Institute of Aging.

Friday in Saratoga County

Saratoga County is holding a Pfizer vaccine clinic Friday from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. just for the third dose, and only for those that are severely immunocompromised. It will be at the Saratoga County Public Safety Building at 6012 County Farm Road in Ballston Spa.

Those who have previously received 2 doses of Pfizer vaccine, with the second dose given at least 28 days ago, as evidenced by a valid vaccination card and those who meet the following third dose eligibility criteria established by CDC:
  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

No walk-ins will be vaccinated. To register, go to https://on.ny.gov/3y3dNtB.

Upcoming clinic in Schenectady County

  • Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hon. Karen B. Johnson Library, 99 Clinton St., Schenectady
  • Monday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Department of Social Services, 797 Broadway, Schenectady
  • Monday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at SUNY Schenectady Community College Elston Hall, 78 Washington Ave., Schenectady

More Schenectady County vaccination sites can be found at https://www.schenectadycounty.com/covid19/vaccine

Check out your zip code vaccination rates are at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/vaccination-rates-zip-code

Categories: News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

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