NEW YORK, N.Y. (WSYR) — Gov. Kathy Hochul said adding the coronavirus vaccine to the list of required immunizations for students to attend school “is certainly an option,” but first she hopes parents will make the decision on their own.
“I want to encourage parents to understand the science, the data that should lead them to the same conclusion we all have,” said Hochul at a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday. “That this is the best thing you can do for your child.”
Hochul shared state data that shows only about half of New York’s children who are of age are vaccinated. New Yorkers aged 12 to 15 are 45.3% vaccinated, whereas 16-25 years olds are 56.8% fully vaccinated.
“I’m calling on parents,” Hochul said. “I’m calling on anyone who can influence this process to say: ‘Please, if you want to be sure you’re children are safe—not just in the classroom, but out there playing sports, out there in the community, socializing with their friends—only 50% is not where it needs to be.'”
At her briefing, Hochul announced her “VaxToSchool” campaign which will promote the vaccine on social media, offer parents resources for getting their children vaccinated, and recruit schools and communities to host targeted vaccine clinics to improve the participation rate. But Hochul said that if the number doesn’t improve, she’ll take more dramatic action.
She said, “I will take more actions if necessary. Right now, I’m asking parents to do what’s absolutely best for their children. If they’re between the ages of 12 and 17, get them vaccinated immediately.”