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COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Expands In NY As Push Against Vaccine Hesitancy Continues


More people will soon be able to get vaccinated to prevent COVID-19. Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Syracuse Tuesday to explain the expanded guidelines. The event also made a push to alleviate fears and mistrust about the vaccine.

Cuomo spoke at the State Fairgrounds, and he was joined by Black and Hispanic community leaders, trying to overcome some of the reasons people are choosing not to get the coronavirus vaccine.  The Reverend Decarto Draper of Tucker Missionary Baptist Church told the crowd they were looking at a survivor of COVID who has received a shot and has a unique reason for others to do so.

"A lot of us think getting the vaccine is responsible. But I flip it and say the vaccine is important for those who are irresponsible," said Reverend Draper. "For those who won’t wear masks. For those who won’t social distance. For those who will not think about the family of others."

Draper was joined by more than a dozen pastors from inner-city churches in Syracuse, Cortland and elsewhere trying to urge people of color to overcome resistance to getting vaccinated.  YWCA Director Fanny Villareal made the same plea for fellow Hispanic residents.  She’s on a local committee to ensure more equitable access to vaccines. 

Cuomo notes it’s essential to solve the issue because of the outcomes.

“They say the virus is race blind. Yes and no," said Cuomo. "It will infect anyone, but by circumstance it infected Blacks and Hispanics more than whites. Twice as many Black people died from Covid as white people. One and a half as many Hispanic people died from Covid as white people.”

Cuomo announced people 60-and-over can now be eligible to get the vaccine.  Next week it opens up to public facing non-profit workers and public employees.  Anne Marie Telercio with the Central New York Labor Federation applauds the expansion, especially for service workers, public employees and other essential workers.

Cuomo warned vaccine supply will still ebb and flow, but barriers will continue to come down to having the percentage protected and - reticence overcome - to start to help the community to return to some sort of normal. 

Per Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Press Release:

Under this new expansion of eligibility, the following essential workers will now be eligible to begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine on March 17: Public-facing government and public employees Not-for-profit workers who provide public-facing services to New Yorkers in need Essential in-person public-facing building service workers This includes workers such as public works employees, social service and child service caseworkers, government inspectors, sanitation workers, DMV workers, County Clerks, building service workers and election workers - the everyday heroes who have been showing up day in and day out throughout this pandemic.

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.