Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that vaccination allocations would be going directly to colleges and universities in order to make in-person learning safer and to eliminate the possibility of young people passing COVID-19 on to older residents.
The appearance at Suffolk County Community College was again closed to the press, as has been commonplace with the governor since sexual misconduct allegations arose against him.
Joining him at Monday’s briefing on Long Island was Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone – who, some outlets have reported, might be a possible challenger to Cuomo in the 2022 election – who backed the initiative.
“We will be giving direct allocations to schools, colleges, universities, so they can vaccinate their students in their facilities, and let’s stamp this beast to death while we can. This is the moment of opportunity. We have COVID on the run… But we need herd immunity, we need every New Yorker vaccinated, and that includes New York’s young people and students, and we’re going to make it a reality,” Cuomo said. “To recap, we’re going to make vaccines available to colleges, universities, so they can do the vaccinations on site, SUNY will model the program. CUNY will also model the program, but we’re inviting all colleges to participate, you will get an allocation from the state, and you can vaccinate your students on the campus in the school, before we get to the summer break.”
With three students taking the vaccine to demonstrate acceptance and eligibility for all New Yorkers 16 and over, Bellone as well as Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis encouraged students to get the jab at any mass vaccination site in the state.
“We’ve gone from a place where not many people were eligible to now very quickly. We are in a place where everyone is eligible and we have to get the message out, and that’s what this vaccinate New York campaign is about. It is absolutely critical, it is timely, and this will be the thing that ultimately allows us to say that we have defeated this virus that we have moved beyond the pandemic and we are fully into recovering and building back stronger and better than ever before,” Bellone said.
Stony Brook and other colleges in the SUNY and CUNY system will be setting up their own vaccination sites run by healthcare professionals.