Upstate Medical University has been chosen as one of 10 Regional Vaccination Hubs to facilitate and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to residents of New York state.
Upstate is the designated hub coordinator for Central New York and will work with 10 partner hospitals, Onondaga County, the City of Syracuse, nursing homes and other local facilities on creating a distribution plan. The CNY regional hub includes hospitals in Madison, Oswego, Cortland, Cayuga and Onondaga counties.
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the hubs Wednesday. They are led by local hospital systems that will work with community leaders to develop regional vaccination networks to guide vaccine administrations once enough doses are in hand to roll out the next phase of the state’s vaccination plan.
Following the governor's announcement, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras applauded the move to name Upstate a Regional Vaccination Hub.
“Throughout the COVID pandemic, SUNY Upstate Medical has met every challenge to serve the needs of New Yorkers—as a hospital caring for COVID patients, a top research facility developing one of the most effective COVID tests worldwide, at the forefront of the Pfizer/BioNtech clinical trials, and now selected as regional vaccination hub for Central New York," Malatras said. "The entire team, led by President Mantosh Dewan, has our confidence as we get even closer to protecting more people with a vaccine.”
Upstate Medical University President Mantosh Dewan, MD and Upstate University Hospital CEO Robert Corona, DO, MBA, are leading Upstate’s efforts as a hub, which the state advised is a long-term initiative that could last several months. Corona has assembled an advisory board to oversee the plan, which will be submitted to the state Department of Health for approval. The board includes representatives from Onondaga County, the nursing home industry, community business leaders and Upstate staff.
“The infrastructure requires a broad operations team and a planning team that is comprehensive to include every aspect of who needs to be vaccinated,” Corona said. “We also have to put together a health equity task force to make sure those who are most vulnerable and who are often underserved are getting adequate access to the vaccine.”
Upstate is also serving as the distribution hub for the Pfizer vaccine, which received approval from the Food and Drug Administration Dec. 11 and was administered in patients for the first time this week. Currently anyone who will receive that vaccine has to come to Upstate to get it, Corona said.
Upstate is prepared and eager to help Central New York distribute the vaccine, Corona said.