Pop-up clinics, incentives aimed at getting more young people vaccinated

Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Office of the Governor
September 21, 2021 – Brooklyn – Gov. Kathy Hochul promotes New York State’s “Vax to School Safely” campaign in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn. Hochul announced 120 new #VaxtoSchool pop-up vaccination sites will take place across New York over a 12-week-period as part of a campaign to increase vaccination rates among younger New Yorkers.

More than 100 mobile and temporary clinics will be popping up across New York in an effort to increase COVID vaccination rates among younger New Yorkers. 

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced recently that the state-supported clinics will be focused on administering the FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children 12 and older, with heavy focus on teens and young adults in areas with lower vaccination rates caused by vaccine hesitancy and other obstacles.

Among the strategies, the plan will use vaccination buses at “…convenient, youth and school-centric areas statewide,” providing incentives such as concert tickets for local venues, and premade publicity tools for schools to promote the program.

“I’ve made it clear that we need to bring children, teachers and staff back to school safely,” Hochul said. “We are going into communities where vaccination rates are still lagging among young New Yorkers, so we can reach as many families as possible and make our schools safer for students and staff.”

State University of New York campuses and public colleges in the City University of New York system this week hit the September 27 deadline for all students and faculty to be full vaccinated. With the initial announcement of the #VaxToSchool initiative also came the availability for SUNY and CUNY students, staff and faculty to use the state-created Excelsior Pass to provide their schools with vaccination information and test results.

K-12 students in the New York City public school system are encouraged to receive a vaccination once their age group becomes eligible, with student athletes, students involved in extracurricular activities and teachers required to be fully vaccinated.

Mask wearing is a mandate for a majority of school districts, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated, as the New York State Education Department follows the U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention “Guidance For COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools.” Despite this, there are no state-enforced measures to ensure compliance, as the referred document only recommends mask wearing, except in transportation such as school buses, where it is required.

Members of the Senate have attempted to call for mandated vaccines within New York schools by adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations by the CDC. Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced a bill on September 24, 2021 to attempt this, but it was stalled due to the Legislature being out of session and a 30-day grace period after the FDA officially approved the vaccine (September 23), according to the NY Daily News.

A full list of the scheduled vax sites is available here. This list is updated regularly, on a rolling basis, as more pop-up vaccination sites are announced.