Richards, Adams announce new vaccine awareness campaign

Queens borough president Donovan Richards, left, is joined by New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul as he speaks to reporters at a COVID-19 vaccination site at the Aqueduct Race Track, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York.
Associated Press/Mary Altaffer/File

Queens Borough President, Donovan Richards, Jr. and Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, along with representatives from the Bronx Borough President’s Office and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), have announced a new awareness campaign in low-vaccinate areas.

They made the announcement last Thursday during a joint press conference with public health leaders, local elected officials and community advocates outside the city’s Beach 39th Street Vaccine Hub to urge Far Rockaway residents to get vaccinated.

“New Yorkers have been resilient in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially here in Queens,” Richards said. “However, the pandemic is far from over, given the rise of the Delta variant. It is more important than ever to ensure everyone gets vaccinated so they can protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighbors.

“The vaccines are safe, effective, and free, and I am proud to stand with Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams, Bronx Deputy Borough President, Marricka Scott-McFadden and the DOHMH to launch this partnership and urge our much-needed communities to get their doses,” he added.

Adams, the Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York, said: “This virus and the new Delta variant are formidable opponents. But we have a strong weapon on our side: vaccines.

“We have seen that this pandemic does not respect national, state, city or borough borders,” he said. “That’s why we have to encourage as many New Yorkers as possible to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“To get vaccination rates up across the five boroughs, we need a combination of smart policies and aggressive outreach through credible messengers,” Adams added. “I’m proud to join Queens Borough President Richards, DOHMH, and other local leaders to urge residents in Far Rockaway to get vaccinated.”

The borough presidents announced a new city partnership that will incentivize local businesses to refer patrons and community members for vaccination, through $100 payments, to participating businesses, adding to the existing $100 incentive available to individuals who have not yet been vaccinated.

The program will advance the twin goals of boosting vaccination rates while supporting struggling small businesses in economically underserved areas, Richards and Adams said.

The partnership builds on the ‘NYC Vaccine Referral Bonus’ program, launched by the city in June of this year, which engages small businesses, community-based organizations, parent-teacher associations (PTAs), houses of worship, and other local institutions to turn out their neighbors, awarding $100 for each referral that leads to an individual’s receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a city-run site.

Each organization is eligible for up to $20,000 in incentives, representing 200 referrals in total.

In the coming weeks, the borough presidents said they will announce future events in other areas around the city that suffer from low vaccination rates “to ensure vaccinations continue to rise and New York beats back the surge in cases.”

Next steps include canvassing events in small business corridors in Brooklyn and Queens to inform local business owners of the $100 incentive and the influential role they can play as community anchors in advocating for their customers to get vaccinated.

“Our road to recovery starts with everyone getting vaccinated,” said NYC Health Department First Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Torian Easterling. “I urge everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine; they are safe, free and effective at protecting you against the worst outcomes of this virus. Thank you to all of our partners in government and in the community for working together to make our city safe from COVID-19.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. said: “In the Bronx, we were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing vaccination rates will play a key role in our city’s recovery.

“It is critical for the health of ourselves, our families and our fellow New Yorkers that we get the vaccine and beat the virus together,” he said. “I want to thank my colleagues Borough President Donovan Richards, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for their partnership in getting the message out that the vaccines are safe, effective and accessible in all corners of our city.”

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