What to Know
- New York state is expected to hold its first full college scholarship raffle for vaccinated kids age 12 to 17 on Wednesday; 10 full rides will be raffled off weekly for five weeks, the governor’s latest effort to reach eligible kids
- Both NYC and state are reporting their lowest positivity rates since that metric started to be reported last year; Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported zero new daily COVID deaths in NYC on Tuesday for the 1st time in months
- In New Jersey, which is also reporting its lowest daily COVID fatalities in some time, a new poll finds Black and Latino registered voters are more likely to say they’ll get vaccinated now than they were four months ago
New York state is expected to hold its first full college scholarship raffle Wednesday, the governor’s latest tactic to incentivize kids age 12 to 17 (and their parents) to get vaccinated, while a new poll finds New Jersey residents who were thought to be more hesitant to get shots appear to be coming around to the idea.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to raffle off 50 full tuition, room and board scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY university over the course of five random weekly drawings. Ten full scholarships will be awarded each time, with Wednesday marking the first opportunities for the youngest eligible vaccine recipients to chart their futures.
It’s one carrot in a series of incentives targeting New Yorkers less motivated to get vaccinated and boost dose rates for a group that is far underrepresented in the fully immunized pool compared with its representation in the population.
In announcing the free scholarship program last week, Cuomo said just 8.7% of New Yorkers age 12 to 17 were fully vaccinated, the overwhelming majority of them age 16 and 17 (0% of New Yorkers age 12 to 15 are immunized, state data shows) compared with nearly 38% of the next age group — those 18 to 25.
At the same time, Cuomo said kids age 12 to 17 were testing positive for COVID-19 at a higher rate than their representation in statewide testing over a recent three-day period.
While that age group is less likely than others to get severely ill or die from COVID, they can infect others more at risk, Cuomo has said. The city has also sought to encourage vaccination among younger age groups, as it has with all age groups, and has adopted a range of strategies — from incentives to home vaccination delivery — to reach those less inclined or less able to get their shots as it seeks to best protect its populace.
In neighboring New Jersey, kids age 12 to 17 account for just 3% of total doses administered in the state — again, well below their representation in the community. Gov. Phil Murphy, like Cuomo, has focused on reaching them as well as communities of color, which have been underrepresented since the rollout’s start at the national level.
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Black and Latino residents account for just 7% and 14%, respectively, of total vaccine doses administered in New Jersey to date, despite representing 15% and 21% of the state’s population, respectively, state and U.S. Census data show.
The gap could soon start to close, though. A new Project Ready poll of 1,200 residents released Tuesday found that the share of Black registered voters willing to get the vaccine increased from 62% in February to 69% in May. Four months ago, 77% of Latino voters said they would get vaccinated. That number jumped to 83% in May.
The apparent decline in hesitancy was also evident among parents of color. Fifty-four percent of Black parents of eligible New Jersey kids polled by Project Ready and 59% of Latino ones said they would get their children vaccinated, while a lower percentage of white parents polled (39%) felt the same, Project Ready found.
Project Ready Executive Director Shennell McCloud credited the increases among people of color to state outreach. The share of white voters who said they would get vaccinated also increased, by 2%, but the poll found those voters were also more likely than voters of other races to definitively say they wouldn’t get vaccinated.
While it’s unclear from the poll how much vaccine incentives or public outreach have contributed to the swings in vaccine readiness, it doesn’t appear the CDC’s new mask guidance for fully vaccinated people wasn’t a major influencer. According to Project Ready, government trust and side effect concerns appear more significant indicators.
“The two biggest reasons cited by those who haven’t been vaccinated are side effects and trust in government, suggesting that government and public health officials must continue to work directly with people to build trust and deliver vaccines to their neighborhoods from providers they trust,” McCloud said in Tuesday statement.
The World Health Organization has decided to assign different Greek alphabet letters like Alpha, Beta and Gamma to each new coronavirus mutation in an effort to decrease stigma.
Overall, New Jersey ranks sixth among U.S. states in percentage of total population fully vaccinated (48.7%), which includes not-yet eligible recipients younger than age 12, according to The Becker’s Hospital Review. New York comes in at No. 11 (46.7%), while Connecticut outpaces the rest of the tri-state to land at No. 4 (53.3%). Vermont leads all states on that metric, followed by Maine and Massachusetts, the Review says.
Nationally, 51.7% of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, though that number drops to 48.5% when expanded to all eligible residents age 12 and up and lower (40.9%) when considering the country’s entire population, CDC shows. Nearly 63% of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose. President Joe Biden has said he aims to have at least one dose administered to 70% of U.S. adults by July 4.
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