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Joining the Herd Saves Lives

February 25, 2021
POTSDAM, NY – As the eligibility to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is well into its third phase and other phases are forthcoming, it is important for those vaccinated and not vaccinated alike to continue following health safety measures.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Associate Chief Medical Officer Andrew Williams, MD, FACP, pointed out that as a community, we are moving in the right direction, “but are not at the finish line yet” when it comes to combatting the disease. As of February 23, 2021, a reported 43 million Americans had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“Please get vaccinated if you are eligible. Locally, a State site, St. Lawrence County, pharmacies, and the Community Health Center all have spots open as vaccinations become available,” Dr. Williams said. “The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) continue to see data that supports both the effectiveness and the safety of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

“At this time, both of the vaccines provide protection from the major COVID variants that we are aware of,” he continued. “The vaccines will either entirely prevent infection, or significantly reduce the severity of infection, thereby preventing hospitalization and death. It is now more critical than ever for individuals to get vaccinated so we can prevent the virus from mutating further.”

[Canton-Potsdam Hospital’s Renee Dashnaw, RN, is donned in her N95 mask and washes her hands prior to starting her shift.]

Dr. Williams noted it is still vitally important for everyone to continue practicing the Five Pillars of Prevention: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, self-isolate if you are sick, and reduce travel.  The CDC further recommends you should avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

Canton-Potsdam Hospital Infectious Disease Physician Assistant Kylie Broughal noted experts are reviewing how many people are getting vaccinated, and how the virus is spreading in communities.

“The CDC points out that as we continue to learn more about how the vaccines are working, it is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to assist in stopping the pandemic,” she said. “They are still working to find out if getting a vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to other people.”

To determine if you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and if a Point of Dispensing (POD) is currently accepting appointments in your area, please visit For updates on the CDC’s vaccine rollout recommendations, visit