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COVID-19: 'Roll Up Your Sleeve' campaign encourages houses of worship of all faiths to sign up as vaccination sites

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Mon, Mar 22nd 2021 01:40 pm

Governor calls on medical providers to volunteer to partner with houses of worship to conduct vaccination clinics, bolstering state's commitment to ensuring fairness & equity in distribution process

Governor reiterates call on religious leaders of all faiths to partner with state and establish additional vaccination sites; since March 8, Webform has already identified over 200 new houses of worship willing to serve their communities 

Interested medical providers and houses of worship can sign up here

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced the launch of the "Roll Up Your Sleeve" campaign to promote houses of worship of all faiths across the state to sign up as vaccination sites for their communities. Worship sites can begin to serve as points of distribution for the COVID-19 vaccine starting in April, significantly increasing the number of doses they can administer.

As part of this new campaign, medical providers are being asked to volunteer to partner with houses of worship to conduct vaccination clinics, furthering the state's commitment to ensure fairness and equity in the vaccine distribution process.

This campaign builds on the state's efforts to bring the vaccine to underserved communities and combat vaccine hesitancy through houses of worship. The governor previously encouraged religious leaders of all faiths to partner with the state to establish pop-up vaccination sites at their facilities and, since March 8, over 200 new houses of worship have signed up to serve their communities.

Houses of worship of all faiths are eligible to serve as points of distribution for the vaccine. Interested medical providers and houses of worship can sign up here.

"Faith leaders are the most trusted voices in their respective communities and, with their help, we will be able to reach those New Yorkers who have suffered the most from this pandemic and bring the vaccine to the communities that got hit the hardest by COVID," Cuomo said. "Through this collaborative initiative, we will make sure that no neighborhood gets left behind in the vaccination phase of this ongoing fight. We have a duty to make sure the vaccine distribution is fair and equitable so that our communities that suffered the most in the peak of the pandemic do not get hit with yet another injustice."

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, said, "Houses of worship are also places of refuge and trust and there is no better place to have people confidently roll up their sleeves. We need faith leaders to rise up to the moment and help save people's lives that we are committed to serve."

New York has continued to increase the number of pop-up sites deployed throughout the state. Since Jan. 15, more than 160 community-based pop-up sites administered more than 62,000 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The establishment of many of these vaccination sites was made possible through partnerships with multiple public and private health care providers. Host sites and partner providers conduct outreach within their communities and work with community leaders and organizations to identify eligible New Yorkers and schedule vaccination appointments.

This continued development of community-based pop-up vaccination sites furthers Cuomo's mandate of ensuring the fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. In late 2020, he announced the launch of New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force chaired by Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial, and Healthfirst President/CEO Pat Wang. Since its establishment, the task force has continued work to ensure vulnerable and underserved communities are not left behind by breaking down the barriers to vaccination and ensuring there is equitable distribution of the vaccine across the state.

•On Saturday, Cuomo announced the discovery of the first case of a COVID-19 P.1 variant, commonly referred to as the Brazilian variant, in a New York resident. The case was identified by scientists at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City and verified by the Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Laboratories. The patient is a Brooklyn resident in their 90s with no travel history. DOH is working with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to learn more information about the patient and potential contacts.

"The detection of the Brazilian variant here in New York further underscores the importance of taking all the appropriate steps to continue to protect your health," Cuomo said. "While it's normal for a virus to mutate, the best way to protect yourself is to continue to wear a well-fitted mask, avoid large crowds, social distance, wash your hands and get vaccinated when it's your turn."

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "This is a race between the vaccine and the variants, and we continue to make tremendous progress of getting shots in the arms of eligible New Yorkers. In the meantime, we remind New Yorkers to do everything they can to protect themselves and their neighbors as we continue to manage this pandemic."

The P.1 variant was first detected in the U.S. at the end of January. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently reporting 48 cases nationwide. The P.1 variant has been designated a "variant of concern," which means there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease and the potential for reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines. However, while additional research is warranted, researchers at the University of Oxford recently released non-peer-reviewed data that indicates the P.1 variant may be less resistant to the current vaccines than originally thought.

Wadsworth Center is currently sequencing COVID-19 virus specimens at a rate of approximately 90 per day and has sequenced more than 8,200 virus samples statewide. Most specimens have been selected at random from throughout the state to ensure geographic representation.

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