Chancellor Malatras Announces SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Hospital Successfully Administers 100% of Initial COVID-19 Vaccine Allotment

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Jan 5, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Liapis | | 518-320-1311

Frontline Personnel at SUNY Downstate Medical and Upstate Medical Begin Receiving Second Dose of Vaccine Today; Stony Brook University Hospitals to Begin Wednesday

SUNY Upstate’s #1 Ranked Saliva Test Able to Detect UK COVID Strain

Photos From Today’s Announcement are Available Here and a Link to Today’s Livestream Address Here

Brooklyn, NY – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced that SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Hospital has administered 100 percent of its first allotment of the COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital received their first two allotments last month, and SUNY Downstate medical staff have now begun administering another delivery of the vaccine received this week. The hospital has been administering vaccines seven days a week.

Chancellor Malatras also announced that frontline healthcare personnel across SUNY’s three university medical hubs are receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today for Downstate Medical and Upstate Medical University, and tomorrow for Stony Brook University. In accordance with guidance issued by the New York State Department of Health, Downstate Medical, Upstate Medical, and Stony Brook University Hospital began administering the first doses of the vaccine on December 15 with a focus on healthcare personnel at high risk for transmitting or becoming infected with the virus.

With New York’s first confirmed case of the UK strain discovered this week in Saratoga Springs, Chancellor Malatras also confirmed that the saliva test developed by Upstate Medical—recently ranked most accurate in the world by the FDA—can detect the new strain.

“SUNY university hospitals’ ability to efficiently administer the first installment of the COVID-19 vaccine and quickly transition to the second dose for our brave healthcare heroes proves that SUNY is up to the operational challenge of distributing the vaccine,” said Chancellor Malatras. “Today, I saw firsthand the tireless dedication of SUNY Downstate staff to not only operationalize an inoculation program, but do it all while batting the virus during the winter wave. I’m proud of their heroic efforts. From establishing a COVID-only hospital, to developing the world’s most accurate saliva, to healthcare students graduating early to battle the virus, to getting healthcare workers vaccinated quickly—SUNY continues to evolve to meet the needs of this unprecedented moment.”

Chancellor Malatras provided these updates following a meeting to discuss the second doses of the vaccination with healthcare workers, SUNY Downstate University Hospital President Wayne Riley, and University Hospital of Brooklyn Chief Executive Officer David H. Berger. A recording from today’s Livestream address may be found here.

 Upstate Medical University has administered 82 percent of its initial vaccine allotment, and Stony Brook has administered 62 percent of its initial vaccine allotment.

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University President Wayne J. Riley, M.D. said, “Our community was hit hard in the spring as the virus made its way through New York City and the borough. We are encouraged and inspired by the number of our frontline and other essential workers taking the vaccine; they understand the urgency of this vaccine as a means of protecting patients and themselves—they also understand the importance of protecting their loved ones. Vaccinations provide hope that we can beat this pandemic and return to some semblance of normalcy.”

SUNY's hospitals have been at the forefront of caring for patients in some of the hardest hit locations, including SUNY Downstate Health Sciences, serving as a COVID-only hospital, and Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island during the first surge in cases last spring. Upstate Medical Infectious Disease Chief Dr. Stephen Thomas served as principal investigator for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which was approved last month.

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. As of Fall 2019, more than 415,500 students were enrolled in a degree-granting program at a SUNY campus. 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 exceeded $1.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are 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


About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough’s only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care, and is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City, and Brooklyn’s 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate’s teaching hospital, backed by the expertise of an outstanding medical school and the research facilities of a world-class academic center. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

A regional center for cardiac care, neonatal and high-risk infant services, pediatric dialysis, and transplantation, Downstate also houses a major learning center for children with physical ailments or neurological disorders. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.