NYC councilman: Close mass vaccine sites, redeploy staff to unvaccinated communities

Coronavirus

NEW YORK — While Over 43% of New York City residents are now fully vaccinated, a closer look at the numbers shows that parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn and Uptown Manhattan still have large numbers of unvaccinated residents.

City Councilman Mark Levine spoke to PIX11 about his drastic new proposal to reach those under-vaccinated communities.

Levine has proposed the city consider closing its mass vaccination sites and redeploy funding and staffing toward a more community-based approach to the vaccination efforts.

“There are some communities were only 25 or 30% of folks have been fully vaccinated, and that leaves us really exposed as a city,” Levine said. “We’re going to have to change our strategy to close that equity gap.”

Levine said that while the mass vaccine sites served us well when thousands of New Yorkers rushed to get their shot, the flow of residents to those sites has reduced dramatically in recent weeks.

“There are a lot of people who are open to getting the vaccine, but they just haven’t gotten around to it. They have busy lives because of work and family, and they’re not going to be able to travel 30 minuets or an hour to a mass vaccination site,” Levine said. “But if vaccination is available in their church, in their community center, in their home through door-to-door vaccination, then they’ll get it,” he continued.

The councilman said we’re already paying for the staffing at the mass vaccine sites, so it’s simply a matter of redeploying resources. He added that much of those costs are reimbursed by FEMA.

“Spending money on this problem is the least of our challenges. We want to avoid another wave in the fall,” Levine said.

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