NEW YORK — As New York City continues its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to open up vaccine sites at schools to get more young teens inoculated.
Beginning Friday, the city is partnering with the United Federation of Teachers to deploy mobile pop-up vaccine sites to schools for students ages 12 to 17.
The program starts with four schools in the Bronx and is expected to expand to all five boroughs in the next few weeks.
“It’s going to be a way to reach a lot of young people quickly, and it’s going to be a way to encourage parents to understand how incredible it is, what a great feeling it is to know your child is safe,” the mayor said.
Councilman Mark Levine said setting up vaccine sites at schools is a good idea since schools already have relationships and have built trust with families.
“If we bring vaccinations to them in their school buildings, that’s a game change,” he said.
The city is also hosting “Youth Vax Block Parties” at popular parks in each borough. Each block party will have a vaccine bus providing the Pfizer vaccine stationed in its proximity, and families can enjoy food, music and other activities.
As of Wednesday morning, about 118,000 New York children and teens ages 12 and 17 have been vaccinated, according to de Blasio.
Vaccine eligibility for children and teens began last month after U.S. health advisers endorsed use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in kids as young as 12 on May 12.
Despite the group of children being eligible to receive the vaccine, Mayor de Blasio previously said students in city public schools will not be required to get inoculated.