WASHINGTON — A significant increase in COVID vaccine supply and distribution sites is coming to New York state.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on Thursday announced the “huge influx” of vaccine doses that will be distributed through community health centers statewide. The actual number of doses will be announced in coming days, Schumer said. Other details also were not specified.
President Biden on Feb. 9 announced that community health centers would be one of the focal points of his effort to increase vaccination. That initiative would depend on a significant increase in the supply of vaccine, which reportedly will occur later this month.
“More access and more shots means a quicker recovery and that’s what we want,” Schumer said Thursday in a video message.
Among the centers eligible are Hometown Health Centers in Schenectady and Hudson Headwaters in Queensbury, he said.
Hometown CEO Joe Gambino in February said the initial announcement by Biden was promising but he didn’t know how it would work out for Hometown, which got off to a strong start with vaccination efforts but ran out of supply.
Schumer on Thursday noted that expanding vaccination through community health centers would be a way to address the lagging vaccination rates in minority communities.
The one in nine New Yorkers who receive care at community health centers typically are among the most vulnerable members of the community, Schumer said — 89% are low-income and 71% are people of color.
State data indicate white and Asian New Yorkers have received a greater percentage of shots than their percentage of the state population, while Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have received a lesser percentage of shots than their population.
All CHCs are eligible, Schumer said, but they must opt in to participate. Vaccination will be free to recipients.
Also Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state has surpassed the 6 million mark in doses of vaccine administered. Statewide, 4.07 million people have received at least one dose of vaccine, or 20.4% of the state’s population, and 2.09 million have received two doses, or 10.4% off all New Yorkers.
In counties in and near the Capital Region, the rate varies widely, from 17.1% of the population in Schoharie County to 28.5% in Warren County.
In other COVID-related news on Thursday:
- Cuomo announced that starting April 1, travelers no longer will be required to quarantine upon arrival in New York from another U.S. state or territory, though voluntary self-isolation still is recommended. Quarantine will remain mandatory for international travel.
- The seven-day positive COVID test rate stands at 3.1% statewide, 1.9% in the Capital Region and 1.5% in the Mohawk Valley. At the county level, the seven-day rate is Albany 2.0%, Fulton 3.2%, Montgomery 3.4%, Rensselaer 1.3%, Saratoga 2.2%, Schenectady 1.8% and Schoharie 1.3%.
- Statewide, 4,735 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, including 92 in the Capital Region and 60 in the Mohawk Valley.
- The official state COVID death toll increased by 80 to 39,311. Among the new deaths were one resident each in Albany and Schenectady counties.