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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Green Lakes offers COVID-19 protection this holiday weekend

Enjoy the beauty of New York state and help fight COVID-19 at the same time. That was the message at state parks across New York this Memorial Day weekend. 

Pop-up vaccination clinics provided shots to holiday visitors at many locations across the state, including Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville.   

Workers from Nascentia Health pitched a large, white tent, standing at the ready to give out the Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

“I think it’s a little more personalized and a little less intimidating,” said Chief Clinical Officer Andrea Lazarek-Laquay. “When you’re showing up to these great big pod locations, you just don’t really know where to go or what to do, it gets a little confusing, whereas here, we’re all just waiting for you to come,”

Everyone who received a vaccine at the clinic was given a free two-day pass to a New York state park. 

But visitors had other reasons for getting their shots, too. Nick, who declined to give his last name, said he’s excited about the freedom it will give him this summer, especially when he goes to concerts.

"I was kind of against it for a while,” said Nick, who didn't want to give his last name. "I didn't know. That's why I waited so long. I wanted to see what happened to the first round of people who got it, and I haven't heard anything negatively, and I'm happy that I did it."

Special education teacher Melissa Maloney came with her husband. She already received her vaccines, but the couple wanted to make sure they were both protected before welcoming a new baby in July.

"Whatever we can do lower the chances of the baby getting COVID,” said Maloney. “Obviously, I'm hoping she'll have my antibodies, but just in case, we're going to do whatever we can for her."

Lazarek-Laquay said she and her co-workers are happy to spend the holiday weekend helping out.

"I think all of us really want to see our community get back to normal and operate and have everyone out and enjoying themselves,” said Lazarek-Laquay. “So, by being able to provide this service, getting more people vaccinated, I think we're just helping the community get one step closer to enjoying another wonderful summer."

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.