Latest COVID-19 Vaccine Updates | The Highlands Current

Latest COVID-19 Vaccine Updates | The Highlands Current


Dutchess County Medical Reserve Corps memorializes vaccination volunteer

■ As of Wednesday (June 23), New York had administered at least one vaccine dose to 11,369,732 residents, or 56.9 percent of the total population, and had fully vaccinated 10,204,627 or 51.2 percent, according to the state’s COVID-19 Tracker. Among residents 18 and older, 71.2 percent had received at least one dose and 63.5 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

■ The Mid-Hudson Region, which includes Dutchess, Putnam and five other counties, had administered at least one dose to 1,209,337 residents as of June 23 and fully vaccinated 1,081,267 residents.

■ Dutchess County vaccine providers

■ Putnam County vaccine providers

■ As of June 23, 57.2 percent of Dutchess County residents (167,995 of 293,718) had received at least one dose and 51.4 percent (150,997) were fully vaccinated. In Putnam County, 61.2 percent of residents (60,548 of 98,892) had received at least one dose and 55.1 percent (54,545) were fully vaccinated.

■ Dutchess County had fully vaccinated 79.5 percent of its residents 65 and older (42,459) and Putnam 77.8 percent (13,787) as of June 22, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For New York, the rate was 78 percent and nationally, 77.2 percent.

■ As of June 23, 286,335 adolescents between 12 and 15 years old (31.8 percent of that age group statewide) had received at least one vaccine dose since becoming eligible to receive the Pfizer shots on May 12. The total includes 4,376 in Dutchess County (32.4 percent of that age group countywide) and 1,643 in Putnam (32.5 percent).

About 60 members of Dutchess County’s Medical Reserve Corps attended a memorial service on June 21 for Kyong-sook Yun, a retired nurse and volunteer vaccinator who died unexpectedly on June 18. County Executive Marc Molinaro ordered flags at county facilities to be flown at half-staff in her honor. “Her personality quickly gained her friends among her fellow MRC volunteers, and she contributed to keeping Dutchess County safe and healthy,” he said.

■ Beacon’s Recreation Department is requiring that anyone wanting to use its public pool at the Settlement Camp sign up for an account, provide proof of vaccination if eligible for the shots and reserve, in advance, a slot for one of multiple two-hour swim sessions that will be available. No walk-up paid admission will be accepted. The city is shooting for opening the pool the weekend of July 4.

■ Nearly 60 percent of females in Dutchess County, 59.4 percent, had received at least one vaccine dose compared to 51.4 percent of males as of Sunday (June 13). The same gender gap exists in Putnam County, where 61.3 percent of females had received at least one shot and 55.5 percent males. Statewide, as of Sunday, the gap was 4.5 percentage points, 57.1 percent of females versus 52.6 percent of males.

■ NewYork-Presbyterian, whose system includes Hudson Valley Hospital in Cortlandt Manor and a medical group in Cold Spring, notified staff on June 11 that they will have to be vaccinated with at least their initial shot by Sept. 1 to remain employed. The mandate also applies to volunteers and vendors, and will be required of new hires. Employees who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, or because they are pregnant, have until Aug. 1 to apply for an exemption, the hospital system said in a memo signed by Steven Corwin, its president and CEO, and Laura Forese, its chief operating officer. Corwin and Forese described inoculation as “the most important and responsible action we can take as NYP team members for the safety and well-being of our patients and visitors, our communities and ourselves.”

■ The state’s mass-vaccination site at the Ulster County Fairgrounds will begin transitioning to a mobile clinic at SUNY Ulster, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Tuesday (June 8). New appointments and walk-ins for first doses will be available at SUNY Ulster starting on Wednesday (June 9). The fairgrounds will continue to honor existing appointments for second doses and accept walk-ins for the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine until June 29, when it will close, said Cuomo.

■ Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday (June 7) that “most” pandemic restrictions will be lifted when 70 percent of the state’s adults have received at least one vaccine shot. As of Monday, 66.3 percent of residents 18 and older had done so. Current guidelines governing capacity limits, social distancing, disinfecting, health screening and contact tracing will become optional for businesses once that threshold is reach, said Cuomo. Restrictions will remain for large-scale event venues, K-12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and healthcare settings until more people are vaccinated, he said.

■ Citing a nearly 90 percent decrease in demand for testing since January, the state began closing its 19 drive-thru sites beginning June 11.

■ New York residents who get vaccinated at SUNY Orange in Middletown, the Ulster County Fairgrounds in New Paltz or one of eight other state-run clinics next will get a free $20 scratch-off lottery ticket and a chance to win a $5 million grand prize under the state’s “Vax and Scratch” program. Tickets will be given away from Monday (June 7) to Friday (June 11), with recipients also getting a chance to win other prizes ranging from $20 to $50,000.

■ Putnam County is holding a vaccination clinic on Thursday (June 3) for people 18 years old and up at the Philipstown Recreation Center. The county will be administering the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine during the clinic, which runs from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Appointments can be made here. Walk-ins are welcome.

■ The state announced on June 2 and June 9 the first 20 winners of its “Get a Shot to Make Your Future” contest, which is offering up to 50 four-year scholarships at state public colleges and universities to residents between 12 and 17 years old who get vaccinated by July 7. The scholarships cover tuition, room and board. The names of the winners can be found here. (There have been none from the Highlands.) Parents or legal guardians who want to enter their child in the contest can register here. The deadline is June 28.

■ New York lifted the midnight curfew for indoor dining at bars and restaurants on Monday (May 31), Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that same day.

■ New York is extending its “Vax and Scratch” lottery program beyond the original Friday (May 28) end date and adding 10 new sites where residents 18 and older who get vaccinated from Monday to Friday (June 4) earn a free $20 scratch-off and a chance to win prizes ranging from $20 to a $5 million. The new locations include the Westchester County Center in White Plains.

■ New York is will be reminding employers that, under state law, employees can use paid sick leave if they need time off to recover from the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday (May 27).

senior center

After being closed for more than 14 months, Putnam County’s four senior centers, including the Philipstown Friendship Center in Cold Spring, re-opened on Monday (May 24). The county said that more than 90 percent of seniors who participate in its programs have been fully vaccinated. Exercise classes have resumed but are held outside. (Photo provided)

■ Adolescents and teenagers between 12 and 17 years old who get vaccinated from May 27 to July 7 will have a chance to win one of 50 four-year scholarships for full tuition, room and board at any public college or university in the state, Cuomo said on May 26. Each Wednesday, 10 scholarships will be awarded via a random drawing, said Cuomo. Students in that age range are currently eligible to receive the two-shot Pfizer vaccine. Parents whose kids get vaccinated can sign up here for info about entering the drawing.

■ New Yorkers who get vaccinated by Monday (May 31) will receive a free two-day pass to any state park valid until Sept. 30, Cuomo said on May 24. The governor also said that FDR State Park in Yorktown Heights, Harriman State Park in Sloatsburg and 13 other state parks will host pop-up clinics administering the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Clinics will operate at FDR and Harriman from Saturday (May 29) to Monday. More information is available here.

■ Putnam County will be holding a vaccination clinic on May 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Philipstown Recreation Center in Garrison. The county will be administering the two-shot Pfizer vaccine for people 12 years old and up and the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for those 18 and older.

■ New York will be offering free $20 scratch-off lottery tickets to residents 18 years old and up who get vaccinated at one of 10 state-run sites, including at the National Guard Armory in Yonkers, from May 24 through May 28. The program, called Vax & Scratch, has a grand prize of $5 million, with additional prizes ranging from $20 to $50,000.

■ The state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities announced on May 17 revised visitation guidelines that allow fully vaccinated residents in facilities it regulates to still have onsite or offsite visits if they are exposed to COVID-19 as long as they do not have symptoms.

■ More than half the seating at Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center will be used for fully vaccinated fans attending Knicks and Nets home games for the NBA playoffs, Cuomo said on May 17. To sit in the designated sections, fans will have to show proof of vaccination. Masks and social distancing will still be enforced. Children who have not been vaccinated or are ineligible for the shots can accompany vaccinated adults in the special sections if they have proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

■ Village Apothecary in Woodstock is holding a first-dose Pfizer vaccine clinic in Beacon for people 12 years old and up from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on May 17 at the Rombout Middle School gymnasium. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Second doses will automatically be scheduled for June 7. Appointments can be scheduled here.

■ Putnam County is holding a vaccination clinic for people 12 years old and up from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 20 at the Philipstown Recreation Center in Garrison. Minors must have proof of age and consent from a parent or guardian. To make an appointment visit the clinic’s scheduling portal. Limited walk-ins will be available, the county said.

20k vaccination

Dr. Linda Mueller, nurse Kathy Percacciolo and Putnam County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat pose at the Philipstown Recreation Center on May 20 with Haldane High School student Nathaniel Stickle, who received the Health Department’s 20,000th COVID-19 vaccination dose. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for adolescents as young as 12. (Photo provided)

■ The Hudson Valley Renegades said on May 13 that proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are no longer required to enter Dutchess Stadium. The team is still requiring masks and social distancing.

■ People who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask or socially distance indoors or outdoors, except where required by local laws or business and workplace regulations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on May 13. Cuomo said his administration is reviewing the new guidelines, along with neighboring states, in determining whether to lift New York’s mask mandate.

Cuomo said on May 10 that he would propose legislation prohibiting discrimination against people who have been vaccinated. Some summer camps are barring vaccinated people from attending or working as staff, said Cuomo. “I understand the anti-vaccine argument. In my opinion, there is no science to it,” he said. “You can have a theory, you can have a belief, but you can’t use that to make public policy without science and without data.”

All SUNY and CUNY colleges will require students attending in-person classes in the fall to provide proof of vaccination, Cuomo said on May 10. Private colleges will be encouraged to also require proof, he said.

The Metro-North station in Ossining is one of eight MTA train stops where people can receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine starting May 12 and continuing through May 16, Cuomo said on May 10. Shots will be administered from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ossining on a first-come, first-served basis, with up to 300 shots available. Recipients will receive a a free 7-day MetroCard or free roundtrip on Long Island Rail Road or Metro-North ticket. The other sites are located on Long Island and in New York City, including at the Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station.

The vaccination rate for nursing home residents in Putnam County was 95 percent as May 9. The rate in Dutchess County stood at 86 percent. In both counties, vaccination rates for staff were much lower, 64 percent for Putnam and 56 percent for Dutchess.

The Beacon Elks Lodge and the Hudson Valley VA System at Castle Point will be vaccinating veterans and their spouses and caregivers from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 15 at 900 Wolcott Ave. in Beacon. For more info, call Carl Oken at 914-474-1891 or the Voluntary Services Unit at Castle Point Campus at 845-831-2000.


THANKS TO NURSES — Wednesday (May 12) is International Nurses Day, celebrated on the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell this week praised the work of nurses from the county’s Medical Reserve Corps for their work in vaccinating residents against COVID-19, including Jill Sussman and Felicia Saunders (left) and Vickie Maxino (right), shown inoculating Emily Shortell, a first-grade teacher at the Garrison School, on Jan. 28. The county’s nursing staff has clocked more than 35,000 hours since the pandemic began, Odell said. (Photos provided)

Drug World owner Heidi Snyder is, for the first time, ordering Pfizer vaccines in anticipation that the federal government will approve the company’s drug for administration to adolescents between 12 and 15 years old. Snyder, who already gives shots of the two-dose Moderna and single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines, said on May 4 that she has ordered 1,095 doses of Pfizer, which requires two shots. The company’s drug is already approved for people as young as 16, and approval for kids as young as 12 is expected in the coming weeks. “If the kids can get their second vaccine two weeks before prom, they’re going to have a great prom,” said Snyder.

The Keller Army Community Hospital at West Point will be administering first-dose vaccinations to active-duty military and veterans, their spouses and dependents 16 years old and up, and Department of Defense employees and retirees on May 4, 6 and May 20 at the Holleder Center. Instructions on scheduling an appointment can be found here.

Dutchess County’s Department of Health will be administering vaccines in Beacon during a pop-up clinic being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 5 at Memorial Hall, 413 Main St. Walk-ins will be allowed until noon. To schedule an appointment visit the state’s registration webpage.

Questions? Dutchess County posts vaccine updates at, has a hotline at 845-486-3555 and accepts registration for email updates on vaccine appointments at Putnam County posts info at New York State has a vaccine hotline at 1-833-697-4829 and a webpage at, which is also where you can find appointments at state-run testing sites. The state also created an email list to provide updates. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posts updates at

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