Nassau County officials try to build public's confidence in COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 News and Information
NASSAU COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- The COVID-19 positivity rate continues to climb on Long Island, where officials are trying to fight increased infection rates by opening more testing centers and by launching a public awareness campaign to increase the public's confidence in the upcoming vaccine.

Nassau County's positivity spiked a whole percentage point in one day to 5% while it's at 6% in Suffolk County.

Scientists say as many as 85% of citizens will need to take the new vaccine in order to protect our communities, but polls show that as many as half of Americans have doubts about it.

The result is a grassroots campaign like the one unveiled by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran Friday. It sports Rosie the Riveter with a vaccine band-aid on her arm and the hashtag #WeCanDoItNassau.

The campaign will be multi-lingual and appear across all media platforms.

Politicians are also trying to set the tone on the national level, with President-elect Joe Biden and former presidents Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton vowing to publicly get vaccinated.

"I am very confident in human ingenuity," Curran said. "We know we have the best scientists. We know we have the best people working on this and competing against each other, which is not such a bad thing to get the best product, the safest product, out there."

Six new ProHealth drive-thru testing centers opened this week, and there were long lines Thursday.

Many being tested said they feared they were infected during Thanksgiving gatherings or when a sick child returned from college.

"I expect the numbers to rise as we get that bounce from Thanksgiving," Curran said. "So I would encourage everyone to wash their hands, social distance wear masks so that we can insure that in two weeks we won't see those numbers get even larger."

On Long Island as a whole, the average infection rate is up to 4.53%.

In Suffolk County, County Executive Steve Bellone says they had nearly 1,100 new cases in just 24 hours.

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