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NY Gov. Hochul promotes pop-up COVID-19 testing and vaccination site in Albany

A woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic
Ashley Hupfl
A COVID vaccine pop-up clinic was held Wednesday at Albany's Desmond Hotel.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin were among those promoting a pop-up COVID-19 testing and vaccination site in Albany Wednesday.

Health care provider VIP StarNetwork was on-site at the Desmond Hotel during the annual Empire Baptist Missionary Convention to provide vaccines and COVID testing, as well as holding educational seminars.

CEO Johonniuss Chemweno says such partnerships allow the company to provide COVID services in underserved areas both rural and urban.

“It seems that now is this the time in terms of being a priority for a community that has been starving for better access, for not just the pandemic, but pre-pandemic for decades," he said. "And we're seeing that the community is now taking advantage of those opportunities.”

A Desmond Hotel employee stopped to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot on her break. Heather from Saratoga County says she would have ultimately gotten the shot, but having access to the popup made it easy.

“I found out now 10 minutes ago. It’s great, it’s super convenient," she said.

Governor Hochul mandated the vaccine for workers in hospitals and nursing homes in September before expanding it to workers in facilities offering health care to individuals served by the state Office of Mental Health and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. They must be vaccinated by November 1.