√ Dedicated Instagram channel, @Vaccinateny, to provide vaccine education for school-aged kids and families
√ #VaxtoSchool pop-up sites to open in areas with low vaccination rates among 12 to 17-year-olds
√ #VaxtoSchool buses to provide mobile vaccinations
√ SUNY, CUNY announce integration of state's Excelsior Pass for back-to-campus, proof of vaccine efforts
Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced the launch of a multifaceted statewide #VaxtoSchool campaign to support increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates among school-aged New Yorkers, furthering the administration's commitment to making the health and well-being of students, teachers and families a top priority.
As part of this campaign, the governor announced a new, dedicated website at ny.gov/vaxtoschool with resources and materials for parents and guardians of school-aged New Yorkers and school communities. The new site includes information and an FAQ for parents and guardians, as well as a multitude of ready-made signage for school leaders to support #VaxtoSchool education and operations in their local communities on the ground.
Additionally, the state has launched a new Instagram channel, @VaccinateNY, to educate school-aged New Yorkers and their families about the COVID-19 vaccine directly. Hochul’s team said, “The new social media page will provide approachable, interactive content through easy-to-understand vaccine information, prospective content partnerships, #VaxtoSchool social media design contests, and quick video explainers, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in our effort to provide all New Yorkers with the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine. DOH will also amplify these digital education efforts across all of their channels including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”
The governor said, "We've dedicated enormous state resources to getting New Yorkers of all eligible age groups vaccinated, but initially the state focused on the most vulnerable citizens, and now we need to focus on our youth. New York's young people are less likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, but they can still spread the virus, and we need them to take it seriously. The new, innovative #VaxtoSchool social media campaign will help us get the word out to New York's young people about the vital importance of getting vaccinated to keep friends, families and communities safe."
As part of this effort, Hochul also announced new #VaxtoSchool pop-up COVID-19 vaccination sites will be open in areas where ZIP code data shows the vaccination rate for 12- to 17-year-olds is lower than the statewide average. A community-based medical professional will be available at each site to answer any questions parents and guardians of school-aged New Yorkers may have. Alongside the new sites, #VaxtoSchool buses – mobile vaccination efforts – are being launched in school-centric areas statewide, such as public recreational spaces like basketball courts and parks. This will help to make the vaccine available and accessible to school-aged New Yorkers and their families.
The state is also working with New York colleges and universities to support their back-to-campus efforts, including the integration of the Excelsior Pass at SUNY and CUNY campuses statewide so they have a “secure, verifiable means of accepting and tracking proof of vaccination and/or negative test results, as applicable, for students, teachers and campus staff.” Interested New Yorkers can retrieve their Excelsior Pass or Excelsior Pass Plus by visiting epass.ny.gov.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "As a father, pediatrician, and the state's health commissioner, I am proud to have worked on this multilayered #VaxtoSchool campaign with Gov. Hochul, providing school-aged New Yorkers, their families, and school communities with access to the vaccine and fact-based information about it. Through reaching New York families in new, creative and engaging ways, we can help get the vaccine to more eligible adolescents, while keeping our schools open and healthy. The vaccine is safe and effective, and I urge New Yorkers 12 years of age and older to get vaccinated as they head #VaxtoSchool, so they can get back to the classroom experience they deserve while best protecting their health and the health of those around them."
Children ages 12 to 17 are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is available under emergency use authorization for children ages 12 to 15 and is fully approved for those age 16 and older. The other COVID-19 vaccines are not yet authorized or approved for this age group.
Hochul’s team said, “If you are a parent or guardian of a school-aged New Yorker, you can also visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a vaccine location closest to you. Make sure that the provider offers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“Parents are encouraged to make sure their child is up to date on all recommended and required vaccinations. Please visit the Department of Health website for more information on recommended childhood and adolescent immunizations.”