At a time when many people have become frustrated with how efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus are proceeding, Jefferson County offered some hope last week.

Local officials announced Thursday that Jefferson Community College’s campus on Coffeen Street will host a vaccination site for county residents.

It could begin operating this week pending arrival of vaccination doses. The closest state-run facilities offering vaccines are in Potsdam and Utica.

This Jefferson County clinic will provide vaccines once the plan is approved by the state Department of Health.

Aside from JCC, the partners who collaborated to set up this site are Carthage Area Hospital, Jefferson County Public Health Service, North Country Family Health Center, River Hospital, Samaritan Medical Center and the Volunteer Transportation Center.

“I want to thank the people of Jefferson County for their patience as we take on the most significant undertaking in public health’s modern history,” Ginger B. Hall, director of Jefferson County Public Health, said in a news release issued jointly on Thursday. “We have a plan to vaccinate every eligible resident, but it will take time. Your turn will come. Please continue to wear your mask, keep 6 feet between you and others and wash your hands frequently.”

This development came about as a result of excellent planning on the part of many individuals committed to addressing this problem.

Appointments must be made at the clinic.

People who want a vaccine shot must meet eligibility guidelines as determined by the state.

“The partners submitted a plan to the state to combine allotments of the vaccine and run a mass vaccination [point of dispensing] at Jefferson Community College. The plan was approved and touted as a potential model other local areas may be able to use,” according to the news release. “JCC was chosen as a premier location because its large gymnasium allows for social distancing and provides space to vaccinate and observe hundreds of people. Volunteer Transportation Center will provide needed transportation services for those community members who cannot easily access the vaccination POD.”

The vaccine will be available at this clinic Thursdays and Saturdays to people in groups 1a and 1b. Visit http://wdt.me/reY8n4 or http://wdt.me/cKnsxE to check on who is included in these groups.

“Thursdays will be for those over 65 years of age and Saturdays will be for essential frontline workers, both in group 1b for vaccine distribution. Health care personnel and first-responders in medical roles that make up priority group 1a will continue to be vaccinated in local health care facilities,” the news release reported. “The COVID-19 vaccination POD will be able to flex up or down in our capacity depending on the weekly allocation from the state to each partner. The POD will also be able to accommodate and plan for timely second doses since this is critical to the vaccination efficacy.”

There is still a long journey ahead of us before we can out this horrific pandemic behind us.

Making the vaccinations available to members of the public in less than a year was the best news offered during this crisis.

Setting up a local clinic is a welcome turn of events.

We commend all the local government authorities and health care personnel who brought this about.

Let’s work toward opening additional sites throughout Northern New York as the number of vaccine doses increases.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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