It’s vax to school.
New York City kids ages 12 and up can get a free limited edition issue of Marvel’s The Avengers comic book if they get a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at three Somos Community Care vaccination sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
“Captain America started out as a skinny kid from Brooklyn…you too can become a superhero if you get vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio joked during a press conference at Staten Island’s Borough Hall. “It makes you strong…it makes you able to fight back against evil, it makes you able to take on COVID.”
“COVID is like Thanos out to hurt millions of people around the globe,” de Blasio continued. In the Marvel comic book universe, Thanos is a warlord from the fictional planet Titan whose sole goal in life is to decimate the populations of different planets to save the universe from becoming overcrowded and succumbing to the sad fate of his own.
Somos, a network of over 2,000 healthcare providers, plans on distributing 20,000 of the limited edition comic book, entitled “Avengers: We Are Resilient,” as well as 20,000 lithographs and release a video comic about the Avengers and host in-person events to help educate families about the vaccine.
The new incentive is the newest step de Blasio is taking to boost vaccination rates among New York City public school children as they prepare to head back into classrooms on Sept. 13. Only children 12 years and older are eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination which recently received full approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for people 16 years old and up.
The full approval replaces the vaccine’s emergency use authorization from the agency.
New York City officials report that 300,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or about 56% of all vaccine eligible children across the five boroughs.
Kids can grab their copy of the special edition comic at SOMOS Community Care vaccination sites at 20 Times Square, Maria Hernandez Park in Brooklyn, and 368 East 149th St. in the Bronx.
A Marvelous incentive to get vaccinated
The giveaway got off to a super start in Times Square later on Wednesday afternoon, where SOMOS Community Care was joined by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Marvel Avengers, urging back-to-school inoculations with a pop-up vaccination site and free comic books.
“In this moment, when unvaccinated people are in real danger, we are here today with superpowers that will battle the forces of evil, misinformation, and a deadly virus by bringing together the forces of good with science, and data, and the truth. Today, SOMOS the largest minority-led health network in New York announces a global partnership with the City of New York, the State of New York, and Marvel just in time to send our kids safely back to school,” said Henry R. Muñoz, III, Funny Or Die studio head, activist, and co-founder of SOMOS US.
The gigantic screens surrounding Father Duffy Square lit up with depictions of Captain America, Captain Marvel, the Incredible Hulk, Spider-man, Black Widow, and villain Thanos with the words: We are Resilient. The initiative was kicked off in Times Square where Muñoz announced that SOMOS vaccination sites will provide those being vaccinated with a new Avengers comic book, poster, and soon there will be the release of a film “We are resilient.”
“As the Avengers begin to look more like us, you can be a superhero too by getting the vaccination by protecting your family, your neighborhood, your city and your country,” Muñoz said, adding, “They might not wear capes but since the earliest days of this pandemic the doctors, the nurses, and healthcare professionals—the heroes of SOMOS—have taken to the streets to protect our communities and our people.”
In addition, this distribution of limited-edition memorabilia will extend throughout Hispanic Heritage Month with the hope that it will drive vaccine confidence into Black, Brown, and Latino communities.
Together, chairman of SOMOS Dr. Ramon Tallaj and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi unveiled the cover of the limited-edition comic book, which featured the famed superheroes on the cover.
“We’re sitting here in the middle of one of the most famous places in the entire world. A place that conjures up so many images in the course of the life of a great city and of humanity, a place where we come together and unite to bring in a new year, and where we celebrate the arts, and the culture and the things that make us different, and yet hold us together,” Chokshi said.
“The heroes are here,” Dr. Talla added, sharing the steadfast efforts exhibited by his medical staff to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the launch ceremony concluded, three children were vaccinated at the Times Square pop-up site and were the first to receive the exclusive comic book.