Convincing the Skeptics to Vaccinate in NYC

By Alison Mercure

With the Delta variant spreading across the nation, the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene is educating people about FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines to encourage residents in the tri-state area to get the shots.

Nia Thomas from the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene and Shanaya Thomas from the Bureau of Child Care hosted a virtual community conversation on the subject.

“What we hope to do is provide all community members with a safe space and information so that everyone can make an informed decision about their bodies, whether they choose to get the vaccine or not,” said Thomas.

This event was held as the Delta variant continues to spread in NYC with positive Covid test results hovering around 3%, according to the city’s health department website.

The ongoing cases due to the variant have resulted in some agencies and companies suspending the return of in-person operations until further notice.

Over 68.9% of NYC residents are partially vaccinated with 62% being fully vaccinated. In addition to having virtual conversations with community members, the city health department is encouraging New Yorkers to get the vaccine through commercials and having vaccine buses in certain parts of NYC.

The meeting attendees asked about the safety of the vaccines and age requirements of those who are eligible. Some asked whether children under 12 years old will be considered eligible for the vaccine in 2021. A few people asked whether they should get their child vaccinated if they are participating in school sponsored sporting events.

Dr. Madhuri Ray, the Director of Data Analytics for Child Care at NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, says that the vaccines are safe and effective against the Delta variant.

“The COVID vaccines are, highly, highly effective against the Delta variant, so they all work very well against the Delta variant,” said Ray in the virtual meeting.

Dr. Ray urged residents to be careful about the transmission rates of COVID since not everyone is fully vaccinated, some won’t get the vaccine for heath or religious reasons, and children under 12 years old have yet to be approved to receive the vaccines. She also reminded everyone to be cautious, avoid large gatherings, wear an effective face mask, stay home if unwell, and get tested for COVID.

When asked how residents can avoid misleading facts and false COVID prevention alternatives like Ivermectin, which is a dewormer that is used to stop parasites and treat infections on horses, she said attending informational events around vaccines and contacting the city’s health department are helpful.

Anyone who has questions about the vaccines or plans to get vaccinated can visit the city’s health department website for FAQs or schedule an appointment. Places like Medgar Evers College, Flatbush YMCA of Greater NY, Brooklyn Navy Terminal, Citi Field, and Lehman College are offering COVID vaccines. NYC residents can also visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692) to schedule a vaccination appointment. If anyone chooses to be vaccinated within the comfort of their home, they can visit ​​nyc.gov/homevaccine and fill out a form.

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