Coronavirus update for NYC
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is kicking off a massive effort to get children from 5 to 11 years old vaccinated, and public schools across all five boroughs began hosting vaccination sites Monday and will continue to do so for at least the next week.
Students must be accompanied by an adult and have verbal consent from a parent or guardian.
Maria Arce's 8-year-old daughter got her shot at P.S. 188 in the East Village.
"COVID is still out here," she said. "I want to make sure she's safe and secure to be in school."
CLICK HERE for more information on the dates and times city schools are offering vaccinations.
Arce is one of several parents who signed a consent form at the school, allowing their children to get the vaccine.
"We want to say to parents, 'We will help you do it,'" Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "So all city worker and contractors will have an additional four hours of paid sick leave to get each child vaccinated.'"
Demand for the shot was so great, schools like P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village didn't have enough doses. A lot of parents and students were turned away.
The mayor said so far, there has been particularly high demand for the vaccine at about a dozen schools in District 1 and 2 in Manhattan and District 15 in Brooklyn.
That is encouraging, said NYC Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi.
"It's terrific news we are seeing the demand for vaccination that we are seeing at some of those school sites," he said.
City officials said vaccines will be moved around so all the schools have enough supply.
"We are at 1,000 schools," NYC Health + Hospitals CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz said. "It's great to see demand and then remembering this is just Day 1. We will get vaccine to all the kids whose parents are supporting it. I'm really pleased with the high demand."
But despite the easier access this week, some parents are still saying no.
"I'm a little hesitant to get him vaccinated," parent Ayisha Rodriguez said. "I'm just going to wait it out a little bit longer."
New York City started offering the Pfizer vaccine to these younger students at city-run hospitals and other sites last week, after federal health officials gave it the green light.
The city did the same for students ages 12 to 17 just a few months ago, and now about 78% of that group has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams is hoping all these vaccines will allow him to eliminate the schools' mask mandate next year when he is sworn into office.
"I think part of the development and socialization of a child is that smile," he said. "I think it's imperative that we can find a safe way to do it. I look forward to removing the mask, but it must be done with the science that we're not going back to turning our city and closing it down."
The school vaccination program kicks off on the same day the Biden administration sent letters to superintendents and elementary school principals across the country, urging them to set up COVID vaccination clinics inside their schools.
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