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News of Otsego County

vaccine desert

Bassett Hits Home Run

Bassett Hits Home Run

Goal Is 120,000 Shots
In One Hundred Days

State Approves ‘Massive Vaccination Site’
In SUNY Oneonta, To Begin On Thursday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

In a “vaccine desert,” suddenly there’s an oasis.

After weeks of lobbying and some heightened expectation, it’s here: Bassett Healthcare Network announced Tuesday afternoon, March 16, that a COVID-19 “massive vaccination site” would be opening two days later, the 18th, in SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Field House.

The clinic, staffed by 30 “clinical professionals” from Bassett and a National Guard unit, will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Registration, via www.bassett.org, began the following morning, Wednesday the 17th.

The goal is to ramp up to 1,200 vaccinations a day for three or four months, according to Brinton Muller, Bassett’s Emergency Preparedness manager, who is managing the site.

Ballpark, that could be 100,000 people in the next 100 days.

SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena hasn’t been the focus of such regional attention since Tony Bennett sang at its opening in 1999.

People from across the state can get vaccinated here, but most people surrounding counties – Chenango, Schoharie and, to a lesser degree, Delaware – were already only a half-hour from “massive sites” at Binghamton, Utica or Albany.

That isolation is why former state senator Jim Seward, who lobbied for the site on Bassett’s behalf, said he used the “vaccine desert” term in his conversations with the Governor’s Office.

It just makes sense that Otsego County’s population will benefit most from the new site’s convenience.

“It’s been a long haul already,” said Seward, who himself was stricken with COVID in March 2020. “It would be wonderful to close it up by the Fourth of July, like President Biden said.”

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