Cuomo announces $15M community-focused vaccine initiative amidst rising Covid cases

July 26, 2021

A state-run mass vaccination site at the Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx. March 2021. Photo by Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

A state-run mass vaccination site at the Bay Eden Senior Center in the Bronx. March 2021. Photo by Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Yesterday, New York State had 1,982 new Covid cases, up from 346 just one month ago. Of recent positive cases, 72.2 percent are linked to the Delta variant. Though 75 percent of the state’s population is vaccinated, the numbers continue to rise among the 25 percent, or roughly 3.5 million people, who remain unvaccinated. To curb the spread, Governor Cuomo today announced a $15 million initiative to work with community-based organizations that can help advocate for the vaccine in communities with both high Covid spread and low vaccination rates.

The state is providing $15 million in funding to the following six statewide community organizations: Hispanic Foundation, Apicha Community Health Center, Asian American Federation, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. “It’s not going to be a top-down message. It has to be someone who speaks their language literally and figuratively,” said the governor, who noted that the workers will actually be going door to door to address fears and questions.

Screenshots from Governor Cuomo’s 7.26.21 press presentation

The organizations will focus their efforts in the 117 ZIP codes that meet these two criteria: 1) New positives per capita above statewide average and 2) full vaccination rate below statewide average. These ZIP codes together account for 6.7 percent of the state’s total population. Of these ZIP codes, 71, or 61 percent, are in New York City, primarily the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. In addition, 21 ZIP codes, or 18 percent, are on Long Island. The remaining 25 ZIP codes are scattered across the state.

The governor explained that the ZIP codes in question tend to be communities of color, low-income communities, and communities with less access to healthcare services. “COVID-19 exposed longstanding inequities in our society, and we’ve seen evidence of that in both the positivity rate and the vaccination rate in communities that were hardest hit by the virus,” Governor Cuomo said.

The good news is that only 0.15 percent of vaccinated New Yorkers have had a breakthrough infection, and it’s been seen that being vaccinated reduces the risk of hospitalization by 94 percent.

In New York City, Mayor de Blasio is doing his part to deal with the Delta surge. By September 13, all municipal employees will be required to submit proof of vaccination or take a weekly Covid test. Those unvaccinated will be required to wear a mask indoors.


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