NYC Adds Vaccine Block Parties, ‘Shots and Shots’ Trucks as COVID Cases Plunge


What to Know

  • Both NYC and state are reporting their lowest positivity rates since that metric started to be reported; Gov. Andrew Cuomo says NY’s rolling positivity rate is now the lowest among all U.S. states
  • In the city, COVID-19 cases are down 95% since January, while the hospitalization rate is down 86%; Mayor Bill de Blasio is focusing his targeted outreach efforts now on kids age 12 to 17
  • A new in-school vaccine pilot will launch in four Bronx schools Friday and may spread to other boroughs; the mayor also plans vaccine block parties to engage parents and youth in the process

New York City’s mayor is looking to fuel the success of vaccinations with more targeted programs to kids and “Zillenials.”

A day after announcing the first in-school vaccinations will debut in the Bronx Friday (and spread to other boroughs in the coming weeks if they prove successful,” this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio upped the ante again. Block parties, anyone?

De Blasio says the city plans youth vaccination block parties for the summer to support kids and parents, encourage vaccinations and answer any questions. It’s part of his latest effort to reach the newly eligible 12-to-17-year-old age group.

Nearly 120,000 New York City kids age 12 to 17 have gotten at least one dose so far, de Blasio said, which is about 23% of the city’s population in that age range and surpasses the national average (22%) for the same group, the mayor noted.

That said, those youth still lag their older cohorts in terms of vaccination rates — statewide, just 0.1% of kids age 12 to 15 are fully vaccinated compared with a 36.2% dose rate for those age 16 to 25, data shows. They can still get sick and potentially infect others more likely to experience severe outcomes from COVID-19, hence a full throttled effort at the state and city levels to motivate them to get shots.

To reach kids a bit older, de Blasio said Thursday that a new “Shots and shots” program will send mobile vaccine buses to nightlife areas. The buses have already visited Bushwick, Astoria, the Lower East Side, Bronx Night Market and Inwood and will head to downtown Brooklyn and the West Village Thursday and Friday nights.

To date, about 55% of the city’s adult population is fully vaccinated but that number plunges to 44% when the entire population, including those not yet eligible, is included. Dose rates have plateaued in the last six weeks across the board, but given the impact de Blasio says they’ve had on COVID rates, he’s not letting up.

According to the mayor, new COVID-19 cases in the city are down 95% since January, while the positivity rate is down 91%. Hospitalizations and the hospitalization rate are down 69% and 86%, respectively.

Core COVID rates are down significantly at the state level, too. On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York state’s rolling seven-day positivity average was the lowest among all U.S. states at 0.64%. It’s in the midst of a 58-day stretch of decline, while statewide hospitalizations are the lowest since Oct. 21.


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To further beat back the disease confirmed to have taken nearly 43,000 New York lives to date — and likely is accountable for thousands upon thousands more fatalities, de Blasio and Cuomo have rolled out a growing number of lucrative incentives in recent weeks to engage those less inclined to get vaccinated.

So far, the most potentially live-changing incentive introduced by the state is a five-week program offering full college scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY university to kids age 12 to 17 who get at least one vaccine dose by July 7. A total of 50 free college educations will be raffled off over the course of the five-week program.

Cuomo announced the first 10 winners on Wednesday. See the first group of winners below.

scholarship winners


Handout

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the first kids to win full four-year scholarships as part of a new vaccine incentive program on Wednesday.

Kids can sign up for the weekly drawings even if they were vaccinated before Cuomo announced the program. Those who are interested can sign up here to be notified when each drawing begins.

In neighboring New Jersey, kids age 12 to 17 account for just 3% of total doses administered in the state — well below their representation in the community. Gov. Phil Murphy, like Cuomo, has focused on reaching them as well as communities of color, which have been underrepresented since the start of the vaccine rollout.

Nationally, 48.6% of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated to date, though that number climbs to nearly 52% when only adults are considered, CDC data shows.

The highest full vaccination rates are among those 65 and up, 74.9% of whom are immunized. That number has held pat for some time, though, suggesting those willing and interested in getting vaccinated have already done so.

President Joe Biden has declared June a “Month of Action” as he aims to have at least 70% of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

Anheuser-Busch announced Wednesday it would buy 200,000 Americans “a round of beer” once that goal is met.



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