NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Coronavirus vaccines are on the way, potentially rolling out to New Yorkers in less than two weeks time.
Health care workers and the frailest of the elderly will get priority.
But then who?
New York state is set to receive 170,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 15. According to officials, the city could get 480,000 doses by early January.
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But after frontline workers and long-term care residents, there is a debate about who should come next.
Brooklyn Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. told CBS2’s Nick Caloway on Saturday Black and brown communities where the virus has hit the hardest should get priority.
“We’re saying we saw what the pandemic did to our communities, how it ravaged our NYCHA developments, how it ravaged minority communities. We have a responsibility to go back and educate and make accessible the vaccine to communities,” Cornegy said.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said that means making the vaccine accessible in those communities.
“We should consider repurposing NYCHA spaces, open storefronts and pharmacies to serve as vaccine distribution sites,” Adams said.
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Messaging will also be critical. Adams is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to redeploy the state’s census teams to help educate the public on the vaccine, Caloway reported.
“It is clear the data shows that 50% of the Black and brown community do not trust the vaccine. So, merely stating that the vaccine will be available for minority communities is not enough,” Adams said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet that “high-risk health care workers, nursing home workers & residents, and vulnerable communities of color are top of mind,” as the vaccine is distributed.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy changed the state’s existing immunization registry for the COVID-19 vaccine, so people are automatically enrolled.
“Let me be perfectly clear, this order does not force anyone to receive the vaccine,” Murphy said. “This means that if you wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and, believe me, if we tell you it’s safe, we want you to do that. You don’t have to first opt into the system to make sure that your two-dose regimen is properly tracked and managed.”
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New Jersey residents who get the vaccine can opt-out of the state’s system at the end of the current public health emergency.
The state is expected to get its first shipment of the vaccine later this month.
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