About 300,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 in New York City — or 56% of vaccine-eligible children in the Five Boroughs — have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Wednesday.
It is unclear how many of those children got the shot as a result of the mayor’s “vaccine blitz,” which included setting up pop-up vaccination sites outside of some Summer Rising locations, sports practices, malls as well as a $1.3 billion ad campaign and an effort to call families and talk to them about the vaccine.
De Blasio said Wednesday that over the past week officials have made 250,000 calls to parents urging them to get the vaccine.
The new data means 74,000 vaccine-eligible children have gotten at least one shot since the mayor revealed youth inoculation numbers late last month during an interview on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.” During the segment, de Blasio told the show’s host, Brian Lehrer, that about 226,000 children between the ages of 12 to 17, or about 43% of kids in that age group, had gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
With less than a month until the first day of classes, officials are ramping up efforts to encourage students and school staff to get vaccinated ahead of the school year.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter has stopped by multiple vaccination sites at public schools to talk about the inoculation. On Tuesday, Porter along with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten spoke to student-athletes about the health and safety guidelines in schools.
“One of the things we are finding across the country is the places with the vaccination are more likely to stay in, they are more likely to have learning uninterrupted and that means you can be on the field or on the floor wherever your score is,” Cardona told students. “Not only do they work but they have hour schools reopen in person and they make sure our students have an opportunity to play sports.”
De Blasio and Porter have been adamant that vaccinations are the key to a safe full school reopening this fall. But neither official has come out in support of a full vaccine mandate for adults or children in schools. Under current city policy, teachers must get vaccinated before returning to classrooms or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Officials have not yet released how large of a role testing will play in school communities this fall although Chancellor Porter said the City is considering increasing COVID testing in schools located in neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.
“We know there will be more people in school than there were last school year,” Porter said during a virtual event hosted by City & State magazine on Tuesday. “So, we are thinking about low vaccine neighborhoods and how we ensure there is more testing in those places.”
When asked to provide more details on school-based testing in neighborhoods with low vaccination rates, a DOE spokesperson told amNewYork Metro the department would have more to say about testing procedures soon.