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Riverhead residents age 65 and older will be able to receive COVID vaccines at the Riverhead Town senior center beginning tomorrow, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said today.

Appointments are required. No walk-ups are allowed.

Residents must pre-register on the town website. Pre-registered residents will be called by town staff to schedule appointments.

This allows seniors to make appointments for their shots without having to deal with the state’s difficult-to-navigate online appointment system or the state vaccination hotline. Both the state website and the hotline have been overwhelmed by the volume of people seeking appointments.

Riverhead has been allocated 1,000 first-doses of the two-dose Moderna vaccine, Aguiar said in a phone interview this afternoon. The shots will be administered by Sun River Health personnel.

Aguiar said she has been working with the governor’s office to get the vaccine distribution site approved and get the vaccinations lined up.

The supervisor has been seeking to establish a vaccination site at the senior center for several weeks. It’s been quite a process, she said.

“I got the call Tuesday night and I was like, oh my gosh, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep all night,” Aguiar said. “I think out of the 12 months we’ve been under COVID, this was the happiest day of pandemic, because I see a light. And you feel like you’re able to help,” she said.

The state had to certify the site with an inspection and, even though the date was approved, the site wasn’t certified until late yesterday.

The town opened up pre-registration earlier this week.

It’s been a scramble to get everything arranged, Aguiar said. She and members of her staff have been on the phone with residents setting up appointments.

“Right now we have more people pre-registered than we have vaccines,” Aguiar said. “My goal is to continue fighting to get more,” she said.

“Right now, we are not a priority — the East End is not a priority and definitely Riverhead is not a priority. Riverhead Town has a very large senior population and we should have been a priority,” Aguiar said.

“We’ll continue advocating and undoubtedly, we’ll be getting more, now that a third vaccine has been approved by the FDA,” the supervisor said.

“We’re gonna get out of this, I think pretty quickly — by the end of this spring,” she said. “Better days are ahead.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.