UAlbany Opens For Mass COVID-19 Vaccinations | WAMC

UAlbany Opens For Mass COVID-19 Vaccinations

Jan 15, 2021

The University at Albany is officially open for mass COVID-19 vaccinations.

The large tent at UAlbany’s Northwest Gold Parking Lot became the fifth site to open in New York Friday morning. It currently offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. – but all patients must schedule an appointment in advance either online or via the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline (1-833-697-4829). 

UAlbany President Havidan Rodriguez (left) and State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick Murphy (right)
Credit Jesse King / WAMC

If you don’t already have one, good luck. State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick Murphy says New York only gets 300,000 doses a week from the federal government, so appointments are being booked several months out. But that doesn’t mean spots won’t open up — Murphy urges people to stay patient, and keep trying.

“We’re only gonna be able to do, at [the] current vaccine quantity that we have, several hundred [vaccinations] a day," he explains. "If additional vaccines are received, and we’re pressing for that, then we will adjust that reservation system to be able to get everyone moved up as they’ve queued.”

More than 7 million New Yorkers are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine so far. Phase 1B, which launched Monday, includes people age 65 and over, and some essential workers, including healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, public transit employees, and more. 

Unlike UAlbany's COVID-19 testing site, the vaccination tent is not a drive-thru operation — you will need to park and walk in. Murphy says patients will book a separate appointment for the vaccine's second dose on site, after receiving their first shot.

SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras
Credit Jesse King / WAMC

New York plans to open additional state-run vaccination sites in the coming weeks. Other locations to launch this week include one at Jones Beach, the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, the Westchester County Center, and the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. At the UAlbany site's opening on Friday, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said nearly half of the system's 64 campuses are joining the effort. 

"We have six [sites] that are being run by the state, and 25 which are being run by our local partners," adds Malatras. "SUNY will play a big role in helping vaccinate all New Yorkers, so we can move beyond the COVID crisis."