Pop-up site at Albany church gives out doses as State strives for vaccine equity

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As part of Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of people disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, the Sweet Pilgrim Baptist Church in Albany was one of eight churches in the state to host pop-up vaccination sites.

The state’s goal is to strengthen fairness in the vaccine distribution process and also improve the public’s trust in its efficacy.

A recent Siena poll found that one-quarter of New Yorkers say they don’t plan on getting the vaccine, including about one-third of Republicans, independents, voters under 35, and Black and Latino voters.

“It is safe. Yes, the Black community in particular has reasons to be skeptical. Yes, there is racism, yes, there is discrimination, yes, there was the Tuskegee experiment. You can’t explain that away. There are no apologies. But that’s not the case with this vaccine,” said Governor Cuomo in a Saturday press briefing.

Gov. Cuomo said bringing access to communities that lack trust in the vaccine, and lacked resources to fight the pandemic, is crucial.

“It was a relief. We’ve been working on staying safe, and doing what we’re supposed to do by the CDC, and now are prayers are answered,” said Reverend Richard D. Turpin, who was one of the first to get his shot Monday morning at Sweet Pilgrim.

Like all vaccination sites that have opened in the state, appointments are required. Time slots at the church pop-up sites are scheduled by the individual churches. Monday morning at Sweet Pilgrim, several people were angry after showing up when it first opened—without appointments—and being turned away.

Many New Yorkers in the Capital Region and beyond have called NEWS10 for help trying to figure out a reservation process they call confusing and frustrating.

Senior housing authorities and cultural centers elsewhere in the state are also holding these community vaccine sites. The pop-up sites will be re-established in three weeks to administer second doses.

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