County Executive Pat Ryan announced on March 8 that Ulster County will soon have a mass-vaccination site opening at the Ulster County Fair Grounds in New Paltz to provide COVID-19 vaccines.
This new mass-vaccination site comes after Ryan had been calling on state officials to open a site within Ulster County since many sites are far away and inaccessible for underserved communities. It is expected to open in the coming weeks and is currently still in development.
According to a press release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, there will also be a mass-vaccination site opening at SUNY Orange in the Hudson Valley, as well as a handful of others across New York State.
“This is a big win for our residents. After strongly advocating for a dedicated site here in Ulster County, I’m glad that New York state has answered my request and will be standing up a state-run site at our County Fairgrounds,” Ryan said in the press release. “This site, in addition to our county-led sites, will greatly bolster access to this life-saving vaccine for our residents and will allow us to continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts.”
These new vaccination sites will be run and operated by New York state and will join the states’ 13 other state-run mass vaccination sites. There are also “six joint state-FEMA community-based vaccination sites, the Yankee Stadium mass vaccination site, and more than 120 community-based pop-up sites in public housing developments, churches and community centers,” according to the press release.
It is anticipated that as supply of the vaccine increases and more pharmacies are able to provide vaccinations, there will be more available appointments; however vaccination shortages have posed a real problem in recent weeks.
While Ulster County technically has the capacity to vaccinate 50,000 people per month, the lack of doses available in recent weeks has caused the County to have significantly fewer doses than anticipated.
Ulster County is still operating its Points of Distribution vaccination sites using its existing supply. Additionally, County Executive Ryan announced a vaccine allocation increase of almost 400% from past weeks after requesting more vaccines.
“Thanks to increasing vaccine supply from our partners in Washington we can utilize more of our state’s capacity to distribute doses, and once they are open, these new sites will allow us to continue to get shots into arms on a large scale,” Gov. Cuomo said in a press release. “We know the vaccine is the weapon that will win this war, but it’s only effective if we all take it, which is why we are working around the clock to establish sites like these across the state to reach as many New Yorkers as possible.”
As of March 9, The New York Times reports that approximately 19% of New Yorkers across the state have received at least one shot, and 9.2% are fully vaccinated.
Appointments have not opened up for the Ulster County Fair Ground mass-vaccination site, however, they will open “in the coming days” according to Gov. Cuomo’s office.
Eligible New Yorkers can schedule appointments by using New York’s “Am I Eligible” website or by calling the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).