Chancellor Malatras Urges Students to Take Advantage of Expanded Vaccination Opportunities Prior to Fall Semester with Recent Changes to State and Federal Guidance
State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras is urging students, faculty, and staff to take advantage of expanded vaccination opportunities becoming available thanks to significant recent changes in federal and state health guidance. These changes eliminate a number of logistical, geographic, and scheduling hurdles specifically facing the college student population, and ensure that every SUNY student can get vaccinated prior to the fall semester.
This week, the federal government announced that it is directing all pharmacies participating in the federal vaccine program to offer second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to individuals who received their first dose in a different location. This change positively impacts tens of thousands of on-campus SUNY students who receive their first vaccine dose near the end of the spring semester, but must move home for summer break before they can receive their second dose.
New York State also expanded options for the student population. Starting tomorrow, people ages 16 and up can walk into 16 state-run mass vaccination sites to receive their first shot. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot.
With reports that millions of Americans are opting to skip their second shot, SUNY is expanding its #KnowYourVax campaign with the addition of “Don’t Stop with One Shot” messages that are being distributed to campuses and on social media beginning today. These messages highlight the critical importance of getting the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
SUNY launched #KnowYourVax early in the spring semester to provide trusted facts that dispel vaccine misinformation. Central to the campaign are videos in 11 languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Cantonese, English, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, and Yiddish, to make sure that more New Yorkers understand the vaccine facts. SUNY is also inviting students to share their purpose for getting vaccinated on social media with a photo or short video as part of the #ItsYourTurn campaign.
Chancellor Malatras discussed the importance of fully vaccinating students, faculty, and staff prior to the start of the fall semester during a visit to SUNY Cobleskill, where he toured a newly formed vaccination clinic setup specifically for students.
“These significant changes to state and federal vaccine guidance are eliminating a number of scheduling, logistical, and geographic hurdles for our students who are eager to get the vaccine, but may be worried about the impact of moving home for summer break between their first and second shots,” said Chancellor Malatras. “With these issues cleared up—each and every SUNY student now has easy access to the vaccine—no matter where they are. In the coming weeks, I am urging every student to play their part and get the vaccine. Be vigilante, understand the facts, do your part, and protect one another. We’ve made it this far by following those same principles, and if we continue, we can restore normalcy and be together on campus this fall. I want to thank SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio, who gave us a tour of Cobleskill’s new student vaccination clinic today. I also want to thank the SUNY Cobleskill paramedic faculty and students who were volunteering to administer the vaccines. The clinic is yet another example of our campuses going out of their way to make the vaccination process smooth and efficient.”
SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio, Ph.D., said, “This vaccine clinic fits who we are as a College: we are a place-based learning institution, and we believe that education is in the service of our community. Students and faculty in our Paramedic program are giving the vaccine to their peers today, and with it, protection from the dangers of this pandemic. That exemplifies the value of being stewards of our place. Today, we’re taking a big step toward a new reality in which we are once again a robust, bustling campus with a full complement of students and faculty in our classrooms. We thank SUNY for their leadership and stewardship keeping our campuses safe during a highly evolving and complex public health crisis. The Chancellor and his team have put our campuses on track for more successful semesters ahead."
“It is critical to be able to offer these kinds of services right on campus so that we can make sure that they are available to everybody. It is the key to begin getting back to all the vibrant activity of life before the pandemic,” said Schoharie County Director of Public Health Amy Gildemeister. “The Department of Health and SUNY Cobleskill have been working together since COVID-19 first arrived. The College continues to show that they will take the necessary steps to protect students' health and protect the in-person educational experience.”
SUNY campuses have been leaders in New York State’s broader effort to vaccinate all of its citizens. To date, campuses serving as vaccination centers have administered nearly 1.4 million vaccines. 35 campuses currently serve as vaccination centers. They’re administering approximately 15,000 vaccines per day.