WASHINGTON (WTEN) — On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced a “Vaccine Supercharge” initiative for New York. The senator says to expect a huge influx of COVID vaccine doses and over 100 federal vaccination sites statewide.
“The people of New York have had a tough, tough year amid the pandemic but the light at the end of the tunnel has always been centered on access to a free vaccine for all New Yorkers, and the good news is: lots of New Yorkers want a vaccine,” Sen. Schumer said in a written statement. “Now, the better news is: more vaccines and better access to vaccine sites are on the way.”
The expanded vaccine sites will use New York’s existing Community Health Centers (CHCs) to administer shots. CHCs will lead the new efforts and get their own shipments of vaccines in addition to supply allocated to New York State. According to Schumer, there’s an extra focus on vaccinating underserved and minority communities.
“More access and more shots means a quicker recovery, and that’s what we want,” Schumer said. CHC sites will be federally-funded and organized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to increase availability in those communities where access has been a major challenge.
Black New Yorkers are 16% of the population, but they’ve only gotten 8% of administered vaccines and 23%. Hispanic New Yorkers have gotten 9% of vaccines, despite having 23% of deaths and making up 19% of the population.
“Remember, one of the biggest issues with getting people vaccinated has been access,” Schumer said. “Especially in our underserved and disadvantaged communities. We’ve heard numerous stories of people having to travel way too far to get a vaccine, hampering our ability to recover from the pandemic and return to ‘normal.’”
Schumer’s office is working on a list of all eligible CHCs. Below is the list of newly eligible Community Health Center Systems across New York State that operate over 200 eligible sites:
|East Hill Family Medical Inc||Auburn|
|Oak Orchard Community Health Center, Inc.||Brockport|
|Morris Heights Health Center, Inc.||Bronx|
|Montefiore Medical Center||Bronx|
|La Casa De Salud Inc.||Bronx|
|Union Community Health Center, Inc.||Bronx|
|Vocational Instruction Project Community Services, Inc.||Bronx|
|Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center, Inc., The||Brooklyn|
|Brooklyn Plaza Medical Center||Brooklyn|
|Housing Works Health Services Iii, Inc.||Brooklyn|
|Healthcare Choices NY, Inc.||Brooklyn|
|Community Health Initiatives Inc.||Brooklyn|
|Oda Primary Health Care Center, Inc.||Brooklyn|
|Ezra Medical Center||Brooklyn|
|Community Health Center Of Buffalo, Inc.||Buffalo|
|Damian Family Care Centers, Inc.||Jamaica|
|Community Medical And Dental Care, Inc||Monsey|
|Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Inc.||Mount Vernon|
|Refuah Health Center, Inc.||New Square|
|East Harlem Council For Human Services, Inc.||New York|
|Settlement Health And Medical Services, Inc.||New York|
|New York City Health And Hospitals Corporation||New York|
|Heritage Health And Housing, Inc.||New York|
|Under 21||New York|
|Upper Room Aids Ministry, Inc.: Adult Day Health Care Center||New York|
|Care For The Homeless||New York|
|Betances Health Center||New York|
|Community Health Project, Inc.||New York|
|Hudson Headwaters Health Network||Queensbury|
|Anthony L. Jordan Health Corporation||Rochester|
|Schenectady Family Health Services, Inc||Schenectady|
|Community Health Center Of Richmond, Inc.||Staten Island|
|Beacon Christian Community Health Center||Staten Island|
|Syracuse Community Health Center, Inc.||Syracuse|
|North Country Family Health Center, Inc.||Watertown|
The senior senator from New York also said that this is just the start of a massive, new federal distribution campaign. Coupling the initiative with billions for the state and local economies from the American Rescue Plan, Schumer has rosy predictions for the Empire State in the coming months.
Funding comes from nearly $32 billion secured in the December relief bill. Any CHC site can become a vaccine administration site if it elects to participate in the program and get doses from parent organizations that will determine distribution.
One out of every nine New Yorkers goes to CHCs, which guarantee care for the vulnerable. Of those, 89% are low-income and 71% are people of color. CHCs are a “one-stop-shop,” providing high-quality health care regardless of immigration status, insurance, or payment.