New Covid-19 vaccine allocations will go directly to colleges and universities in New York, starting with schools in the SUNY and CUNY system, to specifically target vaccinating college students, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.
Cuomo made the announcement during an appearance at the Brentwood campus of Suffolk County Community College, which was closed to the press, as has been commonplace with the governor since sexual misconduct allegations arose against him.
“We will be giving direct allocations to schools, colleges, universities, so they can vaccinate their students in their facilities, and let’s stamp this beast to death while we can,” Cuomo said. “SUNY will model the program. CUNY will also model the program, but we’re inviting all colleges to participate. You will get an allocation from the state, and you can vaccinate your students on the campus in the school, before we get to the summer break.”
An initial allocation of 21,000 vaccines will be sent to SUNY schools, and then, there will be 14,000 vaccines to disperse among private colleges that request them. Suffolk County Community College and SUNY Old Westbury will be the first to receive their allocations. Students can make appointments through their schools.
Joining Cuomo at Monday’s briefing on Long Island was Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone – who, some outlets have reported, might be a possible challenger to Cuomo in the 2022 election – who backed the initiative.
With four students taking the vaccine to demonstrate acceptance and eligibility for all New Yorkers 16 and over, Bellone as well as Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis encouraged students to get the jab at any mass vaccination site in the state.
“We’ve gone from a place where not many people were eligible to now very quickly,” Bellone said. “We are in a place where everyone is eligible and we have to get the message out, and that’s what this vaccinate New York campaign is about. It is absolutely critical, it is timely, and this will be the thing that ultimately allows us to say that we have defeated this virus that we have moved beyond the pandemic and we are fully into recovering and building back stronger and better than ever before.”
Stony Brook and other colleges in the SUNY and CUNY system will be setting up their own vaccination sites run by healthcare professionals with the additional vaccine doses.
“Vaccinating SUNY students before they leave for summer break is the key to restoring normalcy on our campuses when students return in the fall,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.
-With Mark Hallum
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