SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — As a part of New York state’s #VaxToSchool campaign, pop-up vaccination clinics are coming to communities across the state with one goal: encouraging teens and their families to get vaccinated. Currently, approximately 50% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been fully vaccinated in the central New York region.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced last week in a press conference that 120 pop-up vaccination clinics will be appearing throughout the state across the next several weeks in an effort to get more New Yorkers vaccinated. She is planning to target the location of these clinics in areas where vaccination rates among those between the ages of 12 and 17 are still low.
“We’re targeting the communities with low vaccination rates among young people, particularly communities of color, and we set up a webpage for parents,” Hochul said. “We set up all kinds of information. And I also said we’re gonna bring pop-ups. We’ll make it so easy on you.”
The New York State Department of Health is working with local officials and community-based organizations to establish clinics in areas that are convenient to community members. Hochul is hoping these locations will also be somewhere where they can best attract a turnout from the youth.
Some events have already happened, including sites at Whitney Point School and Maine Endwell School District. This past weekend, a pop-up vaccination clinic was at the Fall Extravaganza in Rochester. This event, hosted by a local nonprofit and several partners, celebrated the grand opening of a new community playground.
Rachel Barnhart is a Monroe County Legislator who represents the 21st District in the City of Rochester. Barnhart not only helped organize this event, but also helped establish a $100 per-shot incentive with community philanthropic partners to further encourage people to get vaccinated.
“What we’re seeing today is that the $100 incentive really mattered to people,” Barnhart said. “It got people who were scared of getting vaccinated who had a lot of questions about getting vaccinated. It got them to come here and get their questions answered and what we are seeing is a lot of those people are now signing up to get their shot.”
Many Rochester residents who attended the event were able to get vaccinated. Saturday afternoon, Barnhart tweeted that over 70 people got their first shot. It is unclear how many of those shots were given to children between the ages of 12 and 17.
Resident Gail Berks was pleased to see the vaccination clinic and additional efforts being made in her community.
“It makes it easier for a person to come out and get vaccinated if that’s your choice, and if you didn’t make a choice yet – it gives you an opportunity to get information about the vaccination and how it’s going to help our community,” Berks said.
Eden Kiflom is a pharmacy student at St. Johns Fisher College in Rochester and was administering vaccinations to those at Saturday’s event. She was happy to see this opportunity being provided to the community.
“There are people within the local community that don’t have access to transportation,” Kiflom said. “So having one that’s within walking distance to them – I think that’s really cool that the governor and the community are able to come together, get vaccinated before going back to school, as well as all the adults in the community to have opportunities to protect the world and prevent the spread of COVID.”
More and more pop-up vaccination clinics will be appearing throughout the state across the coming weeks. You can find those locations and times as they are updated on the NY.GOV/VACCINE website.