Tuesday brought expanded vaccine eligibility in New York, which means people as young as 16 years old can now get their shot. This is welcome news for many parents and their kids.
"It’s for the good of the community and also for the good of their families. If everyone just participates, hopefully we’ll enter into a new age. Hopefully, a much happier time," said Guy Lawson, who brought his two teenage daughters to the old Best Buy at the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston to get vaccinated on Wednesday.
"I want to get back to some normal, and I want to see my friends. I want to enjoy the presence of the people I love again," said Lawson's daughter, Anna Lawson.
What You Need To Know
- The old Best Buy location in the Hudson Valley Mall was transformed into a vaccination site by Village Apothecary, a pharmacy based in Woodstock
- The effort is led by Neal Smoller, and is staffed with 200 volunteers from across Ulster County
- To join their vaccination list, or for more information, visit villageapothecaryrx.com
And she isn’t alone.
So far, around 1,200 teens have received a vaccine, thanks to Neal Smoller and his team at Village Apothecary, a pharmacy based in Woodstock.
"We have 200 people cycling through to make sure that we immunize up to 4,000 people in this space," said Smoller.
When we first met him in February, he was on a roadshow, delivering vaccines to seniors across Ulster County. Now, he’s in this massive space, and he doesn't plan on slowing down.
"Not only are we helping these people get immunized, but I feel like we’re paying a debt that is owed to the decades of folks that came before us and have cared for us, and now we get to pay it back," he said.
It wouldn’t be possible, he said, without the help of what he calls his volunteer army.
"I can’t do it without any help. These people give hours, days, weeks, five days a week some of these folks are coming to help me, and I just have to say thank you so much to them," he said.
Rich Croce is one of those volunteers. He lost an employee at his New Paltz business to COVID last year.
"We’re volunteers who just believe in this and want to bring the passion and the energy that Neal has and make it a celebration," he said.
And that celebration made 16-year-old Barak Turner’s experience a better one. He says he wants everyone to "get vaccinated."
By the end of this week, Smoller says he will have vaccinated 20,000 people. He’s now in touch with local colleges across the region to take his roadshow to their students.
The vaccination pop-up at the old Best Buy location will also remain there until Saturday. Smoller is encouraging folks to go to his website for more information on where he and his volunteer army is going next.
In Kingston today, Village Apothecary is administering J&J and Pfizer vaccines at the old Best Buy location at the Hudson Valley Mall. All walk-ins are welcome before 7pm, just take a photo ID and insurance cards! @SPECNewsHV pic.twitter.com/wGN5Ma7hfe— dominic mckenzie (@DominicM_) April 7, 2021