New York is setting up 120 pop-up vaccine sites for young people. Here's where

Joseph Spector
New York State Team

ALBANY - In a bid to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among young people, New York will open up pop-up sites at 120 locations over the next 12 weeks.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced this week the expanded effort as part of her #VaxtoSchool initiative to encourage students aged 12 to 17 to get vaccinated.

In New York, 51% of youth aged 12 to 15 have gotten at least one vaccine dose — the lowest among any age group in the state.

"Parents, protect your kids," Hochul said at a vaccine event Tuesday in Brooklyn.

"This is the combination of their seatbelt, their bike, helmet and car seat — everything else that you would do naturally to protect your child. Getting them vaccinated should be just as natural as that. It's safe. It's smart. And you'll not regret it."

Pop-up vaccination sites started Wednesday and Thursday in Broome County and this week in Westchester and Monroe counties.

The list of events will be posted here: covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/covid-19-vaccines-school-aged-new-yorkers

The goal is to have each region host two new events per week through the fall.

Hochul has stopped short of saying she supports a vaccine mandate for students, instead requiring district staff and educators to either get a vaccine or take a COVID test weekly.

But she said, "I'm willing to consider anything" if vaccine rates for youth do not increase and positivity rates do not fall.

First, she said she's hopeful the #VaxtoSchool campaign will raise vaccination rates among young people, who have been increasingly prone to getting sick from the delta variant.

Each site, the state said, will have a community-based medical professional available to answer questions from parents.

The state is also looking to have mobile vaccination buses at schools and community gathering places, such as basketball courts and parks.

"This will help to make the vaccine available and accessible to school-aged New Yorkers and their families — meeting them where they are, in a way they can trust," Hochul's office said in a news release.

The site ny.gov/vaxtoschool has also been launched with details about the campaign and information about the vaccine, including signs that can be printed to post in schools.

More:Gov. Kathy Hochul to require masks in schools, COVID vaccine or test for teachers

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Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network's Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany

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