BROOKYLN, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul traveled to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon for a COVID-19 briefing where she updated New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing pandemic response efforts.

The Barclays Center is home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. Officials from the Nets, and the WNBA’s New York Liberty, participated in Tuesday’s briefing. The Nets are currently the odds-on favorite to win this year’s NBA championship, despite the absence of start guard Kyrie Irving who is yet to join the team this season due to him remaining unvaccinated.

“We will not take our eye off the ball [when it comes to COVID],” Gov. Hochul said. “We are watching what is happening in other places around the world. What scares me most is that in a place like Great Britain, half of the new cases are in children under the age of 15 because they are not vaccinated.”

Anticipating a green light from vaccine advisers, the Biden administration is assembling and shipping millions of COVID-19 shots for children ages 5-11, the White House said Monday. The first could go into kids’ arms by midweek.

By vaccinating children, the U.S. hopes to head off another coronavirus wave during the cold-weather months when people spend more time indoors and respiratory illnesses can spread more easily. Cases have been declining for weeks, but the virus has repeatedly shown its ability to stage a comeback and more easily transmissible mutations are a persistent threat.

On Tuesday, a special advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet to consider detailed recommendations for administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to younger children. The Food and Drug Administration already cleared the shots, which deliver about one-third of the vaccine given to adults.

“The dramatic rise in cases is because of that [younger people not being vaccinated],” Gov. Hochul said. “We see that the weather is starting to change and more people are going indoors and we want to make sure that all of our children are safe.”

The children’s vaccination drive is expected to start later this week and go into full swing by next week. Parents will be able to go to and filter on vaccines for children 5-11 to find a location near them that is offering the shot.

Pfizer’s vaccine already has been authorized for use in older children.

After the FDA gave its authorization for younger children, the Biden administration asked states, territories and other jurisdictions to place their initial orders. Workers at the drug company and at distribution centers began the process of preparing and packing 15 million doses.

“What happens next?” Gov. Hochul said. “We want to work with trusted allies and we have to get the word our right now that when this vaccine is available that every kid says to their mom, dad, or guardian ‘I want to take my shot so I can be safe and I don’t want to have to worry about this.’ Kids, it’s coming.”

The governor again expressed the need to fight back against misinformation regarding the vaccine that circulates online.

“We want to make sure that people aren’t telling lies about the vaccine,” Gov. Hochul said. “I’m a mom. I would have wanted my kids ages 5-11 to get the vaccine to make sure they are safe. This is the way we can stop having to wear masks at schools, and you can start going where you want. We can start saying that this pandemic — that you’re going to someday tell your own kids about — is finally over.”

Watch the full briefing

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