NY to give COVID vaccines directly to colleges, universities for student vaccination push

COVID-19 vaccine and syringe

A nurse fills a syringe with Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center on Long Island on March 31, 2021. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NEW YORK — Colleges and universities will receive direct allotments of COVID-19 vaccines from the state as part of a new push to get young adults inoculated, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The governor said the infection rate among young people is on the rise — up from 9% to about 14% — partly because the state prioritized older New Yorkers at the beginning of its vaccination rollout and partly because of vaccine hesitancy among young adults.

“The numbers are going up. We have to get people vaccinated,” Cuomo said Monday during an event at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. 

The college is home to one of the state’s mass vaccination sites and has administered over 20,000 shots since it opened.

Cuomo said the state is now focusing its vaccination efforts on students to slow the spread of COVID. 

“We want to get students vaccinated before the end of the school year,” the governor said. “The 18-to-24 population is a population that is growing in positivity. We have them in schools, let’s use the schools as the base for the vaccine — makes all the sense in the world.” 

The State University of New York will take the lead in becoming a model for vaccinating students on college campuses. SUNY leaders previously announced they would offer one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines to residential students before the semester’s end.

The state’s initial allocation includes 35,000 vaccines, 21,000 of which will be given to SUNY students and 14,000 will be administered by private colleges. Schools will prioritize residential and non-commuter students who are leaving for the summer.

Students can make appointments through their schools.

“Let’s stamp this beast to death while we can,” Cuomo said. “This is the moment of opportunity. We have COVID on the run, but we still have to be New York tough, and New York smart, and New York disciplined. And let’s make sure that, yes we focused on older people and that was priority, but we need herd immunity. We need every New Yorker vaccinated and that includes New York’s young people and students, and we’re going to make it a reality.”

As of last week, anyone 16 or older is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine in New York.

To schedule a vaccine appointment through the state Health Department, click here.

This story comprises reporting from The Associated Press.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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