Over 51,000 children between the ages of five and 11 have gotten their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.
Out of those children, 17,000 have gotten the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary school-based vaccination site which officials launched earlier this week.
Mayor de Blasio broke the news during an interview on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.” “The sites in public schools have been incredibly popular, more than we imagined, honestly,” de Blasio told show host Brian Lehrer. “Getting our youngest New Yorkers vaccinated is absolutely key especially as we get into the colder months.”
Although the City has made progress in administering the vaccine to younger New Yorker’s, less than 10% of the New York City children within that age group have gotten the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the only vaccine the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted an emergency authorization for its use on five to 11-year-olds.
De Blasio has repeatedly opposed implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school children to boost vaccination rates despite Governor Kathy Hochul stating the measure is not off the table.
“I still think that the best plan is to allow all kids in school regardless and of course to energetically get kids vaccinated,” de Blasio told Lehrer. City officials set up temporary vaccination sites at all public school locations serving 12 to 17-year-olds earlier this year to help bump up the vaccination rate among the age group. As of now, 80% of New York City children between the ages of 11 and 17 are at least partially vaccinated, according to the mayor.