Saugerties could host vaccination site

Neal Smoller administers a vaccine in Woodstock. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

As the availability of vaccines for the Covid-19 virus increases, the county may establish a vaccine distribution site in Saugerties, said Mayor William Murphy said at the regular Village Board meeting on Monday, February 1. The mayor announced the possibility after telling the board about his experience joining a local pharmacist in vaccinating residents of two senior citizen housing complexes in the village.

Murphy said he got a call from pharmacist Neal Smoller on Sunday morning, January 31, who said he had 400 doses on hand. “He said, how about we take care of the senior places in Saugerties?”

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Within 48 hours, Murphy and Smoller were ready to go, and they inoculated residents of Better Community Housing on Main Street and The Mill on Bridge Street, Murphy said.

“The people were thrilled to get their first Covid shot,” Murphy said. “We got their forms, they filled out the forms, they got in line. We did 59 shots in less than an hour, and Neil will be back in three weeks to give them the second shot.”

Shots are limited now, “but when we get a greater surplus from the county Saugerties is on the list as a possible site location for vaccination, because outside of Kingston we are the biggest community in Ulster County,” Murphy said. Currently there are sites at Kingston High School and Ellenville High School. 

Murphy has discussed the possibility with Town Supervisor Fred Costello and the Superintendent of Town Parks and Buildings Greg Chorvas. Potential locations include the Senior Citizens Center or the Kiwanis Ice Rink.

“Pat [Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan] said he would like to see that [more locations for vaccination] happen before the end of February,” Murphy said.