Saugerties leaders partner to vaccinate community members

Saugerties leaders: Superintendent of Town Parks and Buildings Greg Chorvas, Town of Saugerties Supervisor Fred Costello, Village of Saugerties Mayor Bill Murphy, Owner of Village Apothecary Neal Smoller and Superintendent of Saugerties Central School District Kirk Reinhardt joined forces to host a vaccination site at the junior high school on March 3. (Courtesy of Kristine Conte/Ulster BOCES)

Saugerties Central School District stepped up to assist with Covid-19 vaccination efforts by offering the junior high school gymnasium as a public vaccine distribution site for residents aged 65 and older on Wednesday, March 3.  

Village Apothecary owner Neal Smoller had recently received a shipment of Moderna vaccinations and was looking for a site large enough to help distribute them. Smoller, who has worked collaboratively with Village of Saugerties Mayor Bill Murphy and Town of Saugerties Supervisor Fred Costello, was seeking suggestions for a large-scale distribution site. “We needed a location with plenty of indoor space and parking and the school made perfect sense,” said Supervisor Costello.

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The plan came together fairly quickly, with the initial meeting between the three men and Saugerties Central School District Superintendent Kirk Reinhardt taking place on Saturday, February 27. Two days later, they met at the school to go over logistics and on Wednesday, March 3, nearly 1,700 people walked through the doors to receive their vaccinations. “It was important for the district to provide space for the community, and we were happy to know that we were a viable option,” said Superintendent Reinhardt. “The school allowed for a large group of residents to receive the vaccine efficiently and safely,” added Mayor Murphy. 

Inside the gymnasium, Village Apothecary set up several stations. Volunteers sitting at tables greeted people coming into the school, and when the paperwork was processed, those getting vaccinated moved to seating in front of the inoculation station. They then returned to a seating area to wait 15 minutes to make sure they were not suffering from any immediate reactions.

Superintendent Reinhardt said such a large-scale event had to be carefully coordinated. “Volunteers from American Legion Post 72 had to be mobilized, security needed to be arranged, and staffing needed to be planned,” he explained.  “I thought the clinic was very successful and I’m proud to be part of a community that works together for the betterment of the people.” 

Those who were vaccinated will be notified of the date and location of their second doses. 

To get on the waitlist for the next vaccine clinic, please register here: https://drnealsmoller.com/clinic-notification-list/