Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to drive home the importance of youth vaccinations on Aug. 26.
The mayor began his daily media briefing on Thursday morning by pouring over the pages of a limited-edition Marvel comic book, a copy of which will be distributed to New Yorkers receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Although this superhero tale is available to people of all ages, this is designed as an incentive for young people—12 and up—to get protected against the deadly virus. While this new initiative was only implemented on Aug. 25 by SOMOS physicians, de Blasio is already looking to the next resource to have children protected before school starts.
Turning to faith leaders, the mayor announced that the city will set up youth vaccination days at houses of worship all over the city in attempt to reach families in the most trustworthy places, such as the Christian Culture Center (CCC) in Brooklyn. At these sites, portable vaccination centers will be available to administer the inoculations.
“Our clergy are stepping forward,” de Blasio began, “Weekends of faith, youth vacation days, this is going to make a huge difference.”
The mayor hopes that confidence in priests, rabbis, pastors, and more will eclipse misinformation that prevents some from taking the plunge and getting vaccinated.
“We’re gonna have mobile vaccination sites at over 50 houses of worship around New York City in all five boroughs. It’s going to be really helpful. Five thousand backpacks are being given out with school supplies but also information about how to get kids vaccinated. More and more houses of worship are becoming part of our referral bonus program. Here’s a great way to reach our young people, make sure they’re healthy and safe, reassure our families, the families benefit because everyone gets that $100 incentive, the houses of worship benefit from a direct incentive. Everyone’s a winner. Our faith leaders, we turn to them in times, good and bad, but particularly in crisis they mean so much to us, and faith leaders speaking up to get our young people vaccinated, is going to be a difference maker,” de Blasio said.
This program is set to be implemented this weekend and the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, threw his full support behind this plan.
“At the beginning of your administration, you have a trust in the leadership of the faith community, to rally the people in times of difficulty. And this is one of them. And I just want to say count on the Catholic family in the five boroughs to support you vigorously. I’m happy to report that I’ve already got 14 churches lined up for this weekend of faith, and there’s more on the way,” Dolan said, adding, “We happen to be believers. And we believe that God answers prayers, and I think one of the ways he’s answered the prayer for healing and relief in this crisis is by the vaccination. It’s a gift from God, and I’m with you, I will encourage enthusiastically our people to get the vaccine.”
It is with initiatives like these in mind that de Blasio touted that New York has the most youth vaccinations in the nation, with the rate of 12 to 17-year-olds up 22% since July 4, a 9% lead over the national average, leading to about 60% of New Yorkers over the age of 12 having gotten the jab.
The mayor is also continuing the focus toward teen arms with efforts such as an NBA 2K video game tournament (beginning tomorrow at 11 am) through which prizes can be won, yet only those vacationed can participate in. For those unvaccinated who wish to play, de Blasio declared that injections will be available on site. He added that one of the prizes is a coveted Xbox Series X. For more information click here.