Schools will now offer vaccinations on site for students over the age of 12 beginning this Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.
The effort will begin at four schools in the Bronx, with a focus on middle schools, but expand in the coming weeks to all five boroughs.
“This is something I think is going to open up a world of possibilities,” de Blasio said at his daily press briefing. “We’re working with our Health Department, our Department of Education, with the UFT. We want to make schools a place where kids can get vaccinated.”
In New York, 23% of all children ages 12-17 have been vaccinated, surpassing the 22% national average, according to the mayor.
The city will begin these in-school vaccination sites in areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus, officials said.
“This is really a win for equity, taking this to schools, in neighborhoods that have been hit hard by COVID and where we do need to increase the vaccination rate, so I am thrilled by this move,” said Councilman Mark Levine.
Though the mayor said he anticipates students will continue to wear masks when school starts again in September, that may change based on CDC guidance as well as the city's progress in its vaccination efforts.
“The more people get vaccinated, the more freedom we’re going to have,” he said. “But for now, the plan is to keep masks on kids in an abundance of caution and I think it's the right approach.”