In-School Vaccines Coming for NYC Kids; Cuomo to Raffle Off First of 50 Free College Educations – NBC New York | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

What to Know

  • New York state is expected to hold its first full college scholarship raffle for vaccinated kids age 12 to 17 on Wednesday; 10 full rides will be raffled off weekly for five weeks, the governor’s latest effort to reach eligible kids
  • Both NYC and state are reporting their lowest positivity rates since that metric started to be reported last year; Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported zero new daily COVID deaths in NYC on Tuesday for the 1st time in months
  • In New Jersey, which is also reporting its lowest daily COVID fatalities in some time, a new poll finds Black and Latino registered voters are more likely to say they’ll get vaccinated now than they were four months ago

New York City has long said that when it comes to vaccinations, it will go wherever the people are in order to reach them. Starting next week, that means school.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday the city will open vaccination sites at four schools in the Bronx on Friday as part of a pilot program to more expeditiously reach kids age 12 to 17. It will expand to all five boroughs in the next few weeks, de Blasio said. He’s partnering with the unions to get the job done.

With millions of more kids in New York City having become eligible for vaccination in just the last three weeks since the CDC authorized Pfizer’s regimen for emergency use to those 12+, de Blasio says the five boroughs are “doubling down” on outreach to those kids, their parents and their pediatricians.

It’s working, according to the mayor, and with just a few weeks before school wraps for the summer, now is the time to take advantage of the centralized location.

Nearly 120,000 New York City kids age 12 to 17 have gotten at least one dose so far, de Blasio said, which is about 23% of the city’s population in that age range and surpasses the national average (22%) for the same group, the mayor noted.

“We are doing something here that’s working and we want to build on it and go farther especially in the neighborhoods hard-hit by COVID,” de Blasio said, which is why he’s first rolling out the in-school vaccine pilot to a few Bronx schools. “This is a way of finding the best approach and then applying it more broadly.”

Also on Wednesday, the mayor announced the opening of the New York Aquarium vaccine site, the latest addition to the city’s already vast repertoire of providers. With the reopening comes yet another incentive for parents to bring their kids age 12 and up: Those who do earn a free ticket to a future visit at the iconic aquarium.

The Bronx Zoo and American Museum of Natural History offer similar perks. Walk-ins are accepted as well as appointments, which has been the norm for all city and state-run sites for weeks now as officials look to boost vaccination rates.

Not sure how the process works? Check out our handy tri-state vaccine site finder and FAQs here

New York City and New Jersey Vaccine Providers

Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.

“Parents are really responding to this. It is a joy to bring your kid someplace they love, get them vaccinated, know they’re healthy and know they’ll get to enjoy that wonderful location again,” de Blasio said.

With vaccination rates among New York adults in the midst of a weeks-long plateau (57% fully vaccinated to date statewide), both the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are looking at younger kids who may be less inclined to get vaccinated — or whose parents might be less inclined to have them dosed — as a critical opportunity.

While that age group is less likely than others to get severely ill or die from COVID, they can infect others more at risk, Cuomo has said. Kids 12 to 17 are testing positive for COVID-19 at higher rates than their representation in the total test pool, the governor said last week — and have vastly lower vaccination rates compared with their representation in the state’s population.

To capitalize on the untapped vaccine market, Cuomo unveiled a new free college education incentive — and the state is expected to hold its first of what will be five weekly drawings raffling off 50 full college scholarships on Wednesday.

Ten full tuition, room and board scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY university will be awarded each week through July 7 for a total of 50 free rides, Cuomo said.

In neighboring New Jersey, kids age 12 to 17 account for just 3% of total doses administered in the state — well below their representation in the community. Gov. Phil Murphy, like Cuomo, has focused on reaching them as well as communities of color, which have been underrepresented since the start of the vaccine rollout.

Starting Thursday, getting the COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey will get residents an entire summer at one of the state’s most popular beaches — free of charge. NBC New York’s Gaby Acevedo reports.

Black and Latino residents account for just 7% and 14%, respectively, of total vaccine doses administered in New Jersey to date, despite representing 15% and 21% of the state’s population, respectively, state and U.S. Census data show.

The gap could soon start to close, though. A new Project Ready poll of 1,200 residents released Tuesday found that the share of Black registered voters willing to get the vaccine increased from 62% in February to 69% in May.

Four months ago, 77% of Latino voters said they would get vaccinated. That number jumped to 83% in May.

The apparent decline in hesitancy was also evident among parents of color. Fifty-four percent of Black parents of eligible New Jersey kids polled by Project Ready and 59% of Latino ones said they would get their children vaccinated, while a lower percentage of white parents polled (39%) felt the same, Project Ready found.

Project Ready Executive Director Shennell McCloud credited the increases among people of color to state outreach. The share of white voters who said they would get vaccinated also increased, by 2%, but the poll found those voters were also more likely than voters of other races to definitively say they wouldn’t get vaccinated.

While it’s unclear from the poll how much vaccine incentives or public outreach have contributed to the swings in vaccine readiness, it doesn’t appear the CDC’s new mask guidance for fully vaccinated people wasn’t a major influencer. According to Project Ready, government trust and side effect concerns appear more significant indicators.

“The two biggest reasons cited by those who haven’t been vaccinated are side effects and trust in government, suggesting that government and public health officials must continue to work directly with people to build trust and deliver vaccines to their neighborhoods from providers they trust,” McCloud said.

New York City is seeing COVID-19 statistics we haven’t seen since the first cases were discovered here more than a year ago. Andrew Siff reports.

Overall, New Jersey ranks sixth among U.S. states in percentage of total population fully vaccinated (48.7%), which includes not-yet eligible recipients younger than age 12, according to The Becker’s Hospital Review. New York comes in at No. 11 (46.7%), while Connecticut outpaces the rest of the tri-state to land at No. 4 (53.3%). Vermont leads all states on that metric, followed by Maine and Massachusetts, the Review says.

Nationally, 51.7% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, though that number drops to 48.5% when expanded to all eligible residents age 12 and up and lower (40.9%) when considering the country’s entire population, CDC shows. Nearly 63% of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose. President Joe Biden has said he aims to have at least one dose administered to 70% of U.S. adults by July 4.

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