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NYS launches 'Vax to School' effort to get students vaccinated

Gov. Kathy Hochul promotes New York State’s “Vax to School Safely” campaign in Brooklyn Sept. 21, 2021.
Kevin P. Coughlin
Office of the Governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul promotes New York State’s “Vax to School Safely” campaign in Brooklyn Sept. 21, 2021.

New York State is rolling out a "Vax to School Safely" campaign to increase COVID-19 vaccinations for school-aged children, 12 to 17 years old, with a series of pop-up clinics throughout the state.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, speaking in Brooklyn on Tuesday, said there will be 120 pop-up programs over the next 12 weeks that will be a partnership between school districts and the state Department of Health.

“We're going to have over 120 sites and vans all over the state to make sure that parents, first of all, visibly see how easy this is,” Hochul said. “Let's get the parental consent forms in the hands of parents, make it normal, make it seem just another routine, just like you couldn't go to kindergarten without your vaccinations.”

Nearly 60% of New Yorkers aged 12 to 15 have at least one vaccine dose, according to the state’s vaccine tracker. However, just under half of 12-to-15-year-olds in Western New York have at least one dose.

Hochul told parents the vaccine is like every other safety measure they’d take to protect their kids.

“This is the combination of their seat belts, their bike helmet, and car seat, everything else that you would do naturally to protect your child,” she said. “Getting them vaccinated should be just as natural as that. It’s safe, it's smart, and you will not regret it.”

A list of pop-up sites was not announced at Hochul’s appearance, but the state is also introducing a new website, ny.gov/vaxtoschool, to assist parents of eligible school-aged children with resources and information.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.