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For first time, vaccine clinic opens to walk-ins

Hundreds of appointments are still available for a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Keene Central School today. For the first time ever, the Essex County Health Department is opening the clinic to walk-ins.

“If you live in New York state, work in New York state or study in New York state, and you’re over the age of 16, you can get vaccinated at our clinic,” county Public Health Director Linda Beers said Tuesday. “We have over 200 doses. Under 100 people have signed up.”

The department released a graphic on Tuesday evening that showed there were more than 400 vaccine appointments available at the school at 33 Market St., Keene Valley.

The Moderna vaccine is being administered there. Beers said 16 and 17-year-olds should get the Pfizer vaccine, which is currently being administered at state-run clinics, not county-run clinics. The one-shot Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) and two-shot Moderna vaccines are tested and approved for those 18 and older, while the Pfizer vaccine was tested and approved for those 16 and older.

The county is providing free shuttle service from Lake Placid to the clinic. Those who need transportation should call 518-873-3500 before setting up an appointment to get vaccinated. Appointments can be made by visiting www.co.essex.ny.us/health/make-an-appointment or by calling 518-873-3500. However, for the first time, appointments won’t be required for this clinic. Preregistration was required in the past to ensure eligibility, according to Beers, but the eligibility requirements have since expanded to encompass any New Yorker who is 16 years old and above.

“You can show up, call or preregister,” Beers said. “We’ll take you.”

The clinic at Keene Central School is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Class isn’t in session because Keene students are currently on spring break. Those getting vaccinated will have to wait about 15 minutes before leaving so medical professionals can monitor them for adverse reactions.

The county Health Department is hosting another first-dose clinic next Tuesday, April 13 at the county Department of Public Works in Lewis and another clinic at the AuSable Community Center in Jay on April 23. There is also a vaccine clinic in Moriah scheduled for April 29. Residents can sign up for any of these clinics by visiting www.co.essex.ny.us/health/make-an-appointment. Those who get vaccinated in Keene Valley today will have to return to get their second doses on May 5.

Franklin County Public Health has scheduled a vaccine clinic this Friday at the Holy Family School, 12 Homestead Park, Malone. It’s open by appointment to all New Yorkers over the age of 18. Details can be found on the Franklin County website or by calling one of two numbers: Those over the age of 60 can call 518-481-1526, and those under 60 can call 518-481-1111.

Parents of teens aged 16 or 17 can schedule an appointment for their child at a state-run clinic by visiting am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov or calling 1-833-697-4829. The closest sites are in Plattsburgh and Potsdam.

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