Vaccine tourists travel hours to northern New York to get shots

POTSDAM — The state-run mass vaccination clinic at SUNY Potsdam has been one of the easiest places in the state for people to get an appointment.

For weeks, it was one of the only places. It led to reports of people traveling for hours from downstate to get vaccinated.

The Potsdam site doesn’t have a local residency requirement, and that means residents from anywhere in the state are able to get appointments.

Beth Hudson and her husband live in Cohoes near Albany. She worried that she might take a vaccine from someone in Potsdam. But after seeing openings for a few weeks she decided that wasn’t the case.

They traveled more than six hours round-trip — twice for the two doses. They stayed overnight at a local inn and hotel in Potsdam each time.

They used to live in the North Country, and their daughters went to college in the region. Hudson said coming to Potsdam was like coming home. It wasn’t like a vacation, they only came to get vaccinated.

“It was a treat getting out of the house for a little while because we don’t go much of anywhere. But, we didn’t do anything too recreational. We had two good meals, and we ordered out and then we headed home. We didn’t stick around. It was purely, purely to get the vaccine,” Hudson said.

As of Monday, there are appointments available in Potsdam and Plattsburgh.


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