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Hochul reveals plans to launch ‘vax to school’ campaign less than week before public school classes begin in NYC

New York Governor Kathy Hochul holds her first press conference as the state's new leader at the State Capitol in Albany on Tuesday, Aug. 24.
REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced the state will launch a “vax to school” digital marketing campaign encouraging young New Yorkers eligible to get the inoculation to get the shot. 

The announcement came five days before the first day of classes for New York City’s public 1.1 million public school students who will return to classrooms in full next week. 

The campaign will include “micro sites” where families and guardians can access resources on the vaccine and where to bring vaccine-eligible students, or children between the ages of 12 and 17, to get the shot.

During a press conference about the campaign, Hochul revealed that only 50% of the state’s vaccine-eligible kids have gotten both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only inoculation granted an emergency authorization use from the Food and Drug Administration to be administered to children ages 12 and up. 

“Only 50% is not where it needs to be, we have to make sure that it gets higher,” Hochul said. The governor added that she will be announcing more details and additions to the campaign in the coming weeks including schools that will host micro-sites.

The digital ad campaign will soon be unveiled on Instagram, Hochul said, and a list of pop-up vaccination sites accessible to students and families. 

“It’s all about prioritizing the health of our teachers, our administrators, and our children so we get that sense of security that parents will need when they say goodbye to their child and send them off to school,” Hochul added.

Hochul said she supports a full return to in-person classes for students to prevent kids who have been learning remotely for over a year and a half from “falling behind.”

“I don’t believe remote working is an option anymore and we will continue to work against that wherever possible except for children who are immunocompromised and so we need to have an option and we need to make sure that they don’t fall behind,” said Hochul.

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