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G. Ray Bodley High School Hosts Oswego County Department of Health’s Largest-Ever Vaccination Clinic

Fulton City School District this winter hosted the largest vaccine clinic ever operated by the Oswego County Department of Health through careful planning, training and cooperation between the county agency and school administrators.

Christopher Ells, FCSD’s director of health, physical education and athletics, worked with county officials to organize a point-of-distribution called a “POD” inside the gymnasium at G. Ray Bodley High School where some 985 COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed since January.

The first public inoculations for COVID-19 at G. Ray Bodley began Jan. 16 with consecutive clinics held every Saturday since for both first-dose and second-dose appointments.

“As far as my role here, I treat it just like a big sporting event going on,” Ells said. “We have to make sure there’s enough parking, snow is cleared, doors are open and there’s a point-of-flow through the gym.”

The first and only challenge organizers faced was keeping wait times down for those newly vaccinated who were waiting to schedule second-dose appointments. That issue was quickly resolved through more workers being called in, converting the cafeteria into a temporary holding area and adding of a 15-chair column in the gym to accommodate more people while being safely distanced.

“That problem completely disappeared,” he said. “We ran so much more efficiently that we were calling people who had a 4 p.m. appointment, asking them if they could come in earlier because we would be done earlier.”

While the idea of using the high school gymnasium as a vaccination clinic was met by surprise for many district residents, Ells says behind-the-scenes planning for county POD sites have been in the works for nearly 15 years.

“I went to a training about four years ago where we talked about how we would set up schools as sites,” he said. “I work closely with the county department of health, helping them supply chairs and tables for our site and making sure everything is in order.”