Riverhead school district partners with Northwell Health to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to students, staff and families

The Riverhead Central School District and Northwell Health have partnered to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to interested students age 16 or older and their families.

Interim superintendent Christine Tona announced the partnership in a letter to families Thursday and the vaccinations will be done Friday, May 14 and Saturday, May 15.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has urged school districts to offer opportunities for the vaccine as a way to help bolster numbers in the youngest population currently eligible to receive the vaccine.

Students attending prom must be fully vaccinated or demonstrate proof of a rapid COVID test within six hours or a PCR test within 72 hours, per the requirements from the Suffolk County Department of Health, Ms. Tona said.

“As we enter prom and graduation season and many of our High School seniors prepare to attend college, we hope that this vaccination opportunity will be helpful,” she wrote.

The vaccinations will be done at the Peconic Bay Entenmann Campus at 4 W. Main St. that was formerly home to Suffolk County National Bank. Any interested students, their families or staff members are eligible to participate.

Those interested can make an appointment through this link. There will be 250 doses available each day.

The vaccine provided will be the Pfizer, which is the only current approved vaccine for those ages 16 and 17. A second dose will administered June 4 and 5 at the same time and location as the first dose. That provides enough time for students to be fully vaccinated ahed of the June 23 senior prom. Full vaccination is two weeks after the second dose.

Anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian accompany them. Anyone receiving the vaccine must bring a document with their date of birth indicated such as a driver’s license, passport or birth certificate.

Eligibility has been open to anyone 16 or older for several weeks now and officials have said the rate of vaccination has begun to decline, leading to different efforts at the county and state levels to boost participation. Just under 25% of residents ages 16-25 have received the vaccine so far, the lowest figure of any age group, although that age group has not been eligible as long as older residents.

Right about half of the Suffolk County population has now received at least one dose, according to the latest figures from the State Department of Health. More than 60% of the statewide population over the age of 18 have received at least one dose, Mr. Cuomo said Monday.

“But the vaccination rate has declined,” he said. “This is not a New York phenomenon. This is a nationwide phenomenon.”

The governor announced Monday that students in SUNY and CUNY schools must be vaccinated to return to in-person learning in the fall.

“If you must have a vaccine, get it now,” Mr. Cuomo said.

He encouraged private schools to also require the vaccine.

Walk-ins are currently being accepted for the vaccine at state-run sites and during certain times for county-run sites. Appointments can still be made at pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens.