The city unveiled one of its first school vaccination sites in the Bronx on Friday, complete with a DJ, dancing, and a free ice cream cart.
School Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter was on hand to greet shot seekers at the Bronx Writing Academy, one of four school sites that are offering vaccine services.
“It’s been wonderful here,” Ross Porter said as she chatted with attendees and grabbed a cone of strawberry shortcake ice cream. “We have over 200 people who have registered to get vaccinated, on their own, voluntarily.”
About 120,000 city kids ages 12 to 17 in the Big Apple have received a COVID-19 vaccine thus far — and city officials hope the four Bronx school sites will help boost that number.
Ross Porter encouraged New Yorkers to get the vaccine but stressed that they should feel comfortable in doing so.
“We don’t want anybody to feel pressured, but we want to provide access, we want to provide resources, but we don’t want anyone to feel pressured,” she said. “The school is a second home for so many of my families, so by doing it here, we add a level of comfort that we want families to have.”
Several students rolled up their sleeves at the site Friday, saying they were happy to get the jab in a festive and familiar atmosphere.
“I think everyone should get vaccinated,” said ninth-grader Matthew Breton. “Just to be extra safe. After I get my shot, I’ll be going on vacation to the Dominican Republic.”
MetroPlus, which is organizing the effort, said offering their services at local venues helps to ease vaccine anxiety.
“This is significant because there’s a lot of vaccination hesitancy in this neighborhood,” said Lesleigh Irish-Underwood, chief brands and external relations officer. “We can help them overcome it by vaccinating them in a familiar territory.”
The city plans to open up additional vaccine sites at schools in the coming weeks.