Chancellor Malatras Announces SUNY Campuses Surpass One Million Vaccines Administered

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From the office of State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras:

Albany, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced today at the Albany County sponsored SEFCU Arena Vaccination Site at the University at Albany that SUNY vaccinations centers have administered more than one million vaccines, or 17,000 vaccines a day, for New Yorkers from SUNY, state, and county-run locations on 36 campuses. As SUNY makes all resources available to vaccinate more New Yorkers—including students, faculty, and staff—regular weekly COVID-19 testing continues for all on campus this semester with SUNY nearing two million COVID-19 tests conducted since last August. The overall positivity rate remains low at 0.45 percent since August, and the rolling seven day average lower still at 0.28 percent.

Today, Chancellor Malatras met with administrators at the University at Albany vaccination POD with Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. UAlbany faculty and staff received their second dose of the Moderna vaccine today.

“Surpassing one million vaccines has been a tremendous effort across SUNY as we continue to make all resources available—including facilities, freezers, and volunteers—so that more New Yorkers can get a lifesaving vaccine. And while the federal government reviews the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, we are continuing to work with our state and county officials to seek alternative options for our students with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines—something we know they want to have a more fully in-person college experience by next fall,” said Chancellor Malatras. “At the same time, keeping COVID at bay has been a 24/7 heroic effort of everyone within our SUNY community, with regular weekly testing with Upstate Medical’s number one saliva test worldwide being one of our best tools in monitoring possible spread at any one of our campuses. Today, we will hit two million tests conducted on campuses and with a low positive rate—proof that our students are doing everything they can to keep each other safe. My thanks to them, and to the SUNY and government leaders across our state, who like University at Albany President Rodríguez and Albany County Executive McCoy, are working closely to keep our communities safe.”

Albany County Executive McCoy said, “We are pleased to have such a great partnership with SUNY and Chancellor Malatras as we continue to get shots into arms and move the needle towards getting everyone vaccinated. It’s critical to get this younger population vaccinated given what we know about the spread of the virus and those who are currently getting infected.”

University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez said, “Getting our communities vaccinated is the quickest path to returning to normal, and this massive effort would not be possible without strong and reliable partnerships. Just this week, Albany County stepped up once again to ensure that the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would not cause a single UAlbany student to miss their vaccination appointment. That is what teamwork looks like, and UAlbany has been proud to serve the residents of the Capital Region as a mass vaccination site.”

As part of a larger effort to inform campus communities and general public about the available FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines, SUNY ramped up its #KnowYourVax campaign to provide trusted facts to dispel vaccine misinformation. Central to the campaign are PSAs in 11 languages, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Cantonese, English, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Mandarin, Spanish, Tagalog, and Yiddish, to make sure that more New Yorkers understand the vaccine facts.

SUNY is also inviting students to share their purpose for getting vaccinated on social media with a photo or short video as part of the #ItsYourTurn and #KnowYourVax public education campaigns to make sure all students get vaccinated.

Amongst SUNY’s system of 64 campuses, 36 are currently serving as vaccination sites, some with multiple locations to provide safe spaces for more New Yorkers to be vaccinated.

SUNY state-operated campuses serving as state or county vaccination sites include: University at AlbanyBinghamton UniversityUniversity at BuffaloSUNY CortlandSUNY FredoniaSUNY MorrisvilleOld WestburySUNY OneontaSUNY OswegoSUNY PlattsburghSUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, SUNY Potsdam, and Stony Brook University. The SUNY hospitals at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and Upstate Medical University have also provided vaccines to healthcare and other essential workers. Combined, these locations have administered more than 734,721 vaccines.

SUNY community colleges serving as state or county vaccination sites include: AdirondackBroomeClintonColumbia-GreeneCorningErieFulton-MontgomeryGeneseeHerkimerHudson ValleyJamestownJeffersonMohawk ValleyNassauNorth CountryOrangeRocklandSchenectadySuffolkSullivanUlster, and Westchester. These sites have administered more than 331,663 vaccines.

About SUNY Upstate Medical’s Pooled Surveillance Testing

SUNY has been able to conduct more than 350,000 tests weekly this semester thanks to a series of major breakthroughs last year at SUNY Upstate Medical with Quadrant Biosciences, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the New York State Department of Health. The COVID testing program involves an individual saliva test combined with a state-approved pooled testing protocol, and continues to be cost-effective for SUNY to test weekly all students, faculty, and staff on campuses.

The Upstate Media and Quadrant saliva test is number one worldwide. The FDA reviews COVID-19 tests based on the effectiveness of finding the smallest traces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. The Upstate Medical and Quadrant Biosciences Clarifi COVID-19 Test falls into the saliva testing category and has the best (lowest) Limit of Detection at 600 copies of the virus per milliter. Tests with lower LoDs are better able to detect infections at the earliest stages when individuals may be infectious, but asymptomatic. The Clarifi COVID-19 test is among the most sensitive in any category—only five others are more so currently.

The saliva test is easy to use, as individuals administer it by themselves by spitting into a tube rather than have a medical professional insert a swab into their nose.

The saliva samples are sent to Upstate and Quadrant labs for analysis. A negative test means that all 10-25 people in the group are presumed at the time to be coronavirus-free.

A positive test for the pool would mean each individual saliva sample within the pool would need to be tested again individually to pinpoint exact positive cases. The rapid retesting does not require people in the positive pool to return to submit an entirely new sample. This greatly accelerates the process and expands testing capacity.

About The State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.3 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide were more than $1.0 billion in fiscal year 2020, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.

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