BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Early on in the year, New York’s vaccination efforts were centered on the most vulnerable members of the population — older people and those with severe health issues.
Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is changing his focus to the youngest eligible members of the population.
“16 to 25 is our target audience,” the governor said Thursday morning during a visit to Buffalo.
45 percent of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the percentages for older age groups are even higher than that.
But the vaccination rate for younger populations, like people ages 16-25, was pretty low in comparison.
Joined by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes at The Belle Center, Gov. Cuomo announced a new initiative to help get young people vaccinated.
On Friday and Saturday, there will be a pop-up vaccination clinic at 1195 Main St. It’s open to anyone who’s eligible, but the focus will be on young people.
To help young people get there, the NFTA is providing them with 1,000 free bus vouchers, so that they can forego bus fare for the trip over there.
Western New York has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in all of New York. The state’s rate is 1.8 percent, while locally, western New York’s rate is 3.5 percent.
The governor says the state is “working doubly hard” to get western New York’s positivity rate down.
In comparison, the Finger Lakes’ rate is 2.8 percent and the Southern Tier’s is a mere 0.7 percent.
On Wednesday, 38 New Yorkers died as a result of COVID-19. That day, approximately 2,900 people were in the hospital because of the virus.
Cuomo also said Thursday that he is hopeful the state can fully reopen by July.
“You have May. You have June. What happens in May? What happens in June? I would like to get the hopeful reopening date before (July 1st),” Cuomo said. “I don’t want to wait that long. I think if we do what we have to do, we can be reopened earlier.”
|People with at least one vaccine dose||People with complete vaccine series|
|Increase over |
past 24 hours
|Increase over past|
|Central New York||443,266||5,831||355,891||8,918|
|New York City||4,154,997||36,898||2,974,898||67,444|
|Western New York||591,565||3,834||439,942||7,686|
Watch the Q&A session that followed the governor’s announcement in the video player below:
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.