Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
In just two weeks, 50,000 New Yorkers have pocketed $100 after receiving the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday. The incentive program, which launched on July 30, gives New York City residents who get the shot at a city-run vaccination site a $100 pre-paid debit card. The incentive is part of the mayor’s effort to boost the city’s vaccination rate as a way to fight the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, which has led to an increase in Covid-19 cases across New York and the country.
“I’m thrilled 50,000 New Yorkers have taken advantage of this incentive so far,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This is clearly a smart, effective way to drive up vaccination rates.”
According to officials, a majority of the residents who received the cash incentive were people of color. Of the 50,000 people recorded, 43 percent self-identified as Hispanic, 21 percent as Black, 13 percent as Asian, 9 percent as White, and 7 percent preferred not to say.
These stats are notable as racial disparities in vaccination rates across the city have been recorded since the start of the inoculation effort early this year and throughout the pandemic. As of Thursday, city data shows that only 37 percent of Black New Yorkers of all ages have received at least one dose of the vaccine citywide, compared to 77 percent of Asian residents, 50 percent of Hispanic New Yorkers, and 49 percent of white residents.
For young people, the gap is even wider. Just 27 percent of Black New Yorkers aged 13 to 17 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared to 95 percent of Asian residents, 46 percent of Latino residents, and 35 percent of white residents.
In addition to the $100 pre-paid debit card, the city is offering a slew of incentives to residents who show up for a first vaccine dose, including tickets to see the Statue of Liberty, gift cards to the city’s public markets, Citibike memberships, and more.
To get even more New Yorkers vaccinated, de Blasio announced last month all city workers would be required to get the vaccine or be tested weekly basis starting September 13. Gov. Andrew Cuomo followed suit with a similar policy for state workers and going a step further, requiring patient-facing healthcare workers to be vaccinated by Labor Day.
And starting August 16, New Yorkers who wish to enjoy indoor activities, including dining in restaurants and working out at the gym, must provide proof of vaccination. The “Key to NYC Pass” program will officially launch this month, with enforcement starting September 13.
As the New York Post reported, 104,544 New Yorkers got their first dose of the vaccine between August 1 and August 7, the best week since May. Compared to a month earlier, between July 4 and July 10, when just 57,370 first shots were reported.
“The incentives are clearly working,” the mayor said during a press conference on Thursday. “The mandates are starting to have an impact.”
To claim your $100, book a vaccine appointment here or call 877-VAX4NYC.
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