NYC to launch vaccination pilot at public schools for students 12+

Posted On Thu, June 3, 2021 By

Posted On Thu, June 3, 2021 By In Policy

Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

New York City will open coronavirus vaccination sites at certain public schools as part of a pilot program aimed at increasing the number of young people who are vaccinated. The program will start at four schools in the Bronx on Friday with one school added each in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn on Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week. In the next few weeks, the city expects to expand the program.

“It’s going to be a way to reach a lot of young people quickly and it’s going to be a way to encourage parents to understand how incredible it is, what a great feeling it is to know your child is safe,” de Blasio said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

All children participating in the pilot will need the consent of parents or guardians before receiving the vaccine. Parents will also be able to get a vaccine at the same time as their children. Note that Pfizer is the only vaccine approved for those aged 12 to 17 so far.

According to the mayor, since children aged 12 and older became eligible for the vaccine on May 12, 118,000 New Yorkers aged 12 to 17 received at least the first dose of the vaccine, or 23 percent of the age range.

The pilot program is part of a broader plan to encourage parents and guardians to allow their children to get the vaccine. This week, the city kicked off “Youth Vax Week,” which includes deploying the mobile vaccine buses at block parties hosted at popular parks in every borough. Details on the time and location of the mobile vaccine buses can be found here.

The city is also offering a number of incentives aimed at getting more New York children and teens inoculated. Vaccine hubs have opened at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, New York Aquarium, the Bronx Zoo, and the American Museum of Natural History that not only provide a unique place to get the vaccine, but also free admission for a future visit.

Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the “Get a Shot to Make Your Future” incentive, which enters 12- to 17-year-old New Yorkers into a random prize drawing to potentially receive a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY college. Parents or legal guardians can enter their child in the drawing here.

“Vaccination offers young people a chance to more safely enjoy the summer,” NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, said. “​NYC Youth Vax Week is a fun kick-off to the season—but also a chance to answer questions from young people and their parents or guardians about the safe and highly effective Pfizer vaccine.”

Use the city’s Vaccine Finder here to find a Pfizer appointment near you or by calling 1-877-VAX-4-NYC.

Last month, de Blasio announced that city public schools will fully open next school year, with no remote option offered. The mayor has said there is no plan to mandate vaccines for teachers and students in public schools.

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