New York City will begin offering $100 to incentivize COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5-11.
“Everyone can use a little more money around the holidays but most importantly we want our kids and our families to be safe,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.
The new policy will apply to New York City-run vaccine sites and comes two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use for children 5-11-years-old.
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The mayor said that getting the vaccine now will allow children to be fully vaccinated before Christmas, hoping that the $100 incentive will drive people to show up and get extra money for holidays.
The city is hoping to speed its effort to get kids vaccinated before they travel for the holidays, noting that the updated CDC guidance says that children have to wait three weeks between Pfizer doses, even though the dosage is smaller than the adult dose.
The mayor also said that every public school in the city that serves children in the targeted age range will hold a dedicated vaccination day for those students beginning next week, which will cover about 1,070 sites over the course of the week by hitting roughly 200 schools per day.
The city stressed that parents should be present to give verbal consent, whether at a school site or a city-run site, for their children to receive the shot, though de Blasio noted that parents and guardians can also give verbal consent over the phone.
“All choices are good choices, but we want to make it available and easy for parents who prefer just to go to their local school building,” de Blasio said.
While millions of doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been shipped around the country in advance of the guidance, pediatricians in the city say they have not been overwhelmed by calls for appointments for kids to get the shot.
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“We do NOT yet have the vaccine in our office. We placed an order last week and are awaiting confirmation about when the vaccine will be delivered. We will NOT schedule appointments until we have it,” a letter from Uptown Pediatrics in Manhattan sent to families Wednesday said.
But city Health Commissioner David Chokshi stressed that parents can choose from multiple sites to get their children vaccinated.
“There’s no wrong door here. We just wanna get as many kids vaccinated as quickly as we can,” Chokshi said.