More than 100 new coronavirus vaccine hubs funded by the federal government will soon open in New York, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced on Thursday. During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daily press briefing, the Senate Majority Leader said additional vaccines will be sent directly to sites at existing community health centers (CHC) to “supercharge” the vaccination effort.
“The people of New York have had a tough, tough year amid the pandemic but the light at the end of the tunnel has always been centered on access to a free vaccine for all New Yorkers. The good news is: lots of New Yorkers want a vaccine,” Schumer said.
“Now, the better news is: more vaccines and better access to vaccine sites are on the way via a supercharge effort that will utilize New York’s Community Health Centers (CHC) as federally-funded vaccine sites to get more shots into more arms.”
The new vaccine sites will be run in coordination between city officials and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), according to Schumer. The program will be funded with the $32 billion set aside for vaccine distribution as part of the earlier relief bill passed late last year.
According to the senator, of the New Yorkers who visit CHCs, 89 percent are low income and 71 percent are people of color. The program aims to address the inequities found in the vaccine rollout by making sites more accessible, especially in minority and underserved neighborhoods.
All CHC sites are eligible to become vaccine administration hubs but must opt-in to participate in the program and receive the vaccines from the state’s CHC parent organizations, which will determine which sites will get vaccines, according to Schumer’s office.
“There are going to be more vaccines and better access to vaccine sites, and it’s on the way via this ‘supercharge’ effort that will utilize New York’s community health centers as federally funded vaccine sites,” Schumer said on Thursday.
“More access. More shots. A quicker recovery. That’s what we want.”
As part of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief legislation approved by Congress and expected to be signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday, New York City will receive about $6 billion in local aid directly from the federal government.
The American Rescue Plan also sends $6.5 billion to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, $1,400 checks for New Yorkers making under $75,000 (more for families with children), and aid for restaurants and small businesses.
Overall, the state of New York State expected to receive $100 billion, with about a quarter of that set aside for local governments. Funding can be used for “assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality, investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, and to provide premium pay to frontline workers,” according to a press release from Schumer.
Earlier this week, the mayor announced plans to use stimulus funds to create the Taxi Medallion Owner-Driver Relief Fund to offer debt relief to taxi medallion owner-drivers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Take stock of this moment, everyone, because it’s extraordinary,” de Blasio said on Thursday, adding that the stimulus would be the “most progressive” since the New Deal.
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