WATERTOWN — Turning the page into April, the North Country Family Health Center continues to hold vaccine clinics using both state and federal vaccines. In addition to this, the federal vaccinations allow the health center to have mobile sites.
Through the month, the center has scheduled three mobile vaccination sites to bring COVID-19 vaccinations to rural, underserved areas. The first will take place at South Lewis High School in Turin from 4 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.
“South Lewis happens to be one of our mobile dental sites, so we work with the school already,” said April Fallon, director of marketing and community relations for the North Country Family Health Center. “So we’re using the school as a site to do it at because it’s the biggest place in the area that we have kind of a relationship with.”
On April 13, Mannsville Manor Elementary in the South Jefferson School District will host a clinic from 4 to 7 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria. The South Jefferson district also has a health center clinic in it, which offers both medical and dental services.
Lastly, for now at least, on April 22, the health center will be going to Indian River High School’s cafeteria from 4 to 7 p.m.
“All of these three places we kind of strategically chose, we were looking at areas that were underserved,” Ms. Fallon said. “So for whatever reason, whether it’s transportation or literally just not having a site close enough, that’s how we got to these three different areas.”
Ms. Fallon said Theresa is also an area that’s low in terms of vaccination rates, according to data from the North Country Vaccine Taskforce, so the health center is trying to figure something out for that area as well.
As a federally qualified health care center using federal vaccinations, the health center can’t administer vaccinations to anyone under the age of 18. Ms. Fallon will attend each of the three mobile clinics, along with a registered nurse and two nurse practitioners to administer the vaccines. Staff members will also be on site to enter information into the state’s site.
Though it all depends on supply and demand, the health center is trying to get shipments of the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccines so people won’t need to travel again to be fully vaccinated. Regardless of which vaccines end up being administered on any given night, Ms. Fallon expects between 200 to 220 vaccines to be administered each night.
“Each school is helping us communicate with their communities, and we’ve been working with the chambers,” Ms. Fallon said. “So, as far as I know, we’re pretty darn full for the first two, it’ll be an awesome thing for those smaller communities. We’re also going to help people with transportation at a lot of these remote sites too, because they are so rural.”
For each mobile vaccination site, there is a corresponding link to sign up for appointments. Those links are as follows:
— Mannsville: https://on.ny.gov/39f20yT
— Indian River: https://on.ny.gov/201DDx9
— South Lewis: https://on.ny.gov/31QqAuV
Those looking to secure an appointment can also call (315) 782-2346 to be assisted by someone from the health center.
“We have a special number at work if people want to call, because sometimes seniors don’t want to go online or they don’t have somebody to help them, or they don’t have a computer,” Ms. Fallon said. “We have been getting a pretty high volume of calls too, so we’re taking people’s information and then Barb [the health center’s COO] will call them to schedule them. That seems to be working pretty well, and they get a confirmation from us too.”
Those who are unable to get an appointment can also sign up for a spot on the waiting list at http://wdt.me/3MtLU8.