De Blasio promises ‘major’ campaign to get eligible children vaccinated ahead of first day of school

FILE PHOTO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination event outside the Bronx Writing Academy school in New York City
A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a 12-year-old child outside the Bronx Writing Academy school on June 4.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

The City plans on undertaking a “major” campaign to educate parents about the COVID-19 vaccine and to get eligible children vaccinated ahead of full return to classrooms on September 13, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday. 

“A lot of parents are going to take it upon themselves because they know vaccination is widely available and free,” de Blasio told reporters during a press conference. ” We’re going to also be doing a major, major campaign to alert parents, educate them, bring them in, make it easy for them.” Details on the plan will be announced in weeks ahead of the start of school. 

The mayor urged New Yorkers who have still not received the shot to get a COVID-19 vaccine as overall vaccination rates continue to slow down across the country. The groups with the slowest vaccination rate are children between the ages of 12 and 18 who became eligible for the Pfizer vaccine in late May. Over 9,757,650 vaccinations have been administered across the five boroughs, according to City data.

“We got to build it up, we got to make it more consistent,” de Blasio said before reporting that the number of new coronavirus cases across the five boroughs has been going up. On Tuesday, the number of new cases based on a seven-day rolling average has now reached 576, 90 New York City residents were admitted to a hospital with possible COVID-19 symptoms with almost 25% of those New Yorkers tested positive for the virus and the city’s COVID positivity rate has reached 1.72% 

The yet-to-be-announced campaign comes as parents, students and educators become increasingly worried about the City’s school opening plan this fall. A growing number of parents and City Councilmember Mark Treyger are calling for the Department of Education to offer a fully remote option out particularly for children who are not eligible for the vaccine.

Calls are also coming out of concern of the COVID Delta variant— which now accounts for 83% of new COVID infections—and due to a lack of distrust in the City’s ability to abide by health and safety protocols come September, a handful of parents told amNew York Metro.