Officials are launching a $1.3 million ad campaign across all forms of media Monday to encourage children between the ages of 12 to 17 to get vaccinated ahead of a full reopening of public schools this fall.
The campaign will run until Sept. 12 and will be broadcast on television and radio stations, and shared online. Posters will be plastered on subway station walls, supermarkets and bodegas and additional ads will be placed in newspapers, according to a statement from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Students will be returning to classrooms in about six weeks on Sept. 13 which gives vaccine-eligible children just enough time to go back to school fully vaccinated if they get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine this week.
Currently, the only vaccine the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization for children 12 and older is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends those getting the Pfizer vaccine wait 21 days to get the second shot and recipients are not fully vaccinated until two weeks after getting the dose number two.
“In a little over a month we are welcoming all of our students and staff back to public schools, an important moment after the last year and a half in this pandemic,” Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said during a press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In May, the mayor and schools chancellor announced New York City public schools would fully reopen this fall without offering a remote option. Since then, both officials have stressed vaccinations are key to a successful reopening and promised a vaccination “blitz” late last month.
Officials began the “blitz” by setting up mobile vaccination sites outside of 25 locations of the City’s summer session, called Summer Rising, equipped with 50 doses of the vaccine. On Monday, de Blasio said the City would double down on its mobile vaccination efforts revealing pop-up sites would be set up at 28 additional Summer Rising sites, Public School League Athletic practices, high volume Department of Education summer meal spots, 12 “Saturday Night Lights” gyms, and back-to-school shopping spots.
Officials did not say exactly which stores mobile vaccination sites would be set up.
“Before schools open on Sept. 13, we have some homework for all of our students who are eligible to get the vaccine. Get vaccinated,” said Porter. The chancellor reminded families on Monday they can request an in-home vaccination visit.
The push to get more children vaccinated before the start of school comes as COVID cases—mostly stemming from the delta variant of the coronavirus—continue to rise. De Blasio reported Monday 1,190 new cases based on a seven-day rolling average and a 3.05% positivity rate. Despite the growing number of new COVID cases, hospitalizations remain low with 98 New Yorkers admitted to a hospital with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, de Blasio added. Out of those admitted, 40% tested positive for the virus.
So far, 60% of adults in New York City have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, about 55% of adults across the five boroughs are fully vaccinated and about 44% of vaccine eligible children have gotten at least one dose of the inoculation.