NYS to target zip codes with low vaccination rate, including 14215 & 14770

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(WIVB) — Although vaccinations are slowly increasing, COVID-19 is still hitting communities.

New York State is now pushing people to get vaccinated as the delta variant spreads across the country. Right now, 75-percent of adults statewide are fully vaccinated, but Gov. Cuomo says the key will now be targeting the hesitancy happening in areas with a low vaccine rate.

“I’m telling you as I sit here today, if we do not make progress on vaccinating that unvaccinated population – 25-percent – with the Delta variant, you’re going to see the numbers go up,” Cuomo said.

On Monday, the Governor announced the state is putting $15 million toward communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. In Buffalo, that’s the 14215 zip code, which includes the city’s East Side and a small part of Cheektowaga.

Buffalo Common Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt represents part of the 14215 zip code. He said many residents are worried to get the shot despite being hard hit by COVID-19.

“There was a lot of misinformation early on, and then the history of vaccinating people of color – there’s so many things at play,” Wyatt said.

The $15 million will specifically focus on encouraging those living in communities of color to get the vaccine by using local organizations which will go door-to-door in the areas seeing the lowest vaccination rates. Erie County Legislator Howard Johnson says many in the Schiller Park neighborhood don’t trust the vaccine. However, he is confident this boots-on-the-ground effort will work.

“When you see those community-based organizations going door to door, they actually can reach those who are unvaccinated. People that look like us, talking to us about the vaccine, will help in that area,” said Legislator Johnson.

That also includes the 14770 in Cattaraugus County, which includes the Village of Portville.

During his briefing Monday, Cuomo said he’s hoping by having a conversation on an individual basis with those who are hesitant, it will help make their decision to get the shot that much easier.

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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