Accelerating and increasing the number of New Yorkers who are able to be vaccinated will safeguard our community and allow our recovery to begin in earnest. But so far, NYC is lagging behind, and misinformation continues to harm the public’s trust in the process. I believe there are critical steps the City can take now to expand access to the vaccine while ensuring equity and combatting disinformation.
- Ensure scheduling vaccine appointments is easy for everyone. We need to provide ways, through outreach and constituent services, that help inform New Yorkers of their options, address any language and technological barriers, and help those confused by the process. Additionally, the city and state must work together to better coordinate their scheduling efforts by consolidating their hotlines, provide reasonable wait times, and offer support in languages beyond English and Spanish.
- Ensure vaccine sites are in accessible locations. It is imperative that we bring vaccines to people where they are. There should be at least one vaccination site in every Community Board district. In addition to medical institutions and clinics, vaccination sites should be in places our communities know and trust, like senior centers, community centers, empty middle and high schools, and houses of worship.
- Use mobile vaccination sites and big building visits to target concentrations of seniors and essential workers. Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities here in the Bronx, with a large concentration of residents over 65, should have a scheduled visit day, and mobile sites can help increase access to those essential workers at their workplaces--including schools, supermarkets, police precincts, and firehouses.
- Provide free transportation options to vaccine sites. Getting to a site should not be a hurdle. Until we have more sites that are flexible, we should provide transportation options for those who need it, and ensure that option is free.
- Increase language and immigration-status outreach. Guidance should also be made available in multiple languages so that non-English speakers are not excluded, and immigration status should not bar anyone from being vaccinated.
- Combat disinformation with public education. We must have a robust public education campaign targeted against disinformation about the efficacy and safety of the vaccine. Anti-vaccine propaganda only serves to further harm our communities ravaged by the virus. Science-based facts and information must be given to the public to drive up rates of vaccination.