ALBANY, N.Y. — New York and the United States are inching closer and closer to a coronavirus vaccine. One hurdle to reaching herd immunity is people who choose not to receive a vaccine.
A statewide campaign is seeking to educate and inform New Yorkers with reliable, scientific information as they look for information on vaccines and vaccine safety.
The NYS Academy of Family Physicians is leading the ‘Let’s Get Immunized NY’ campaign, which shares information about vaccines and the importance of getting vaccinated. Over 30 other organizations are also joining in the effort.
"The preventive value of vaccines is critically needed now to protect the health and safety of everyone,” said Dr. Jason Matuszak, NYSAFP president. “And while we all wait for news of COVID-19 vaccines, it remains critical that New Yorkers young and old are fully vaccinated against all preventable diseases—so Let’s Get Immunized New York!”
Let’s Get Immunized New York also wants to address the racial disparities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“In communities of color barriers to preventative care such as immunizations is a long-standing issue,” said Lorraine Braithwaite-Harte, Health Chairman for NAACP New York State Conference. “That is why as part of our overall health initiative we are pleased to team up with the expansive number of members of this campaign to work to bring health equity as well as trust and understanding of vaccinations to residents across New York.”
The campaign is emphasizing the importance of getting vaccinated, since vaccines have helped to reduce very contagious diseases in the community including smallpox, polio, measles, whooping cough, meningococcal disease, mumps and hepatitis B.
“Ensuring that you and your family are up to date with all available vaccines is one of the safest and most effective ways you can protect your loved ones and your community," said Kevin D. Watkins, MD, MPH, NYSACHO President.
"If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it’s how an unchecked illness can spread across the entire globe. We all play a part in preventing that from happening. If you’re eligible for a vaccine, please get vaccinated. If your children are eligible, please get them vaccinated. It’s never been more clear that everything is at risk when we don’t play our part,” added Watkins.
Organizations taking part in the campaign aren't just parent-focused or health care related. Business and farm organizations are also addressing how routine vaccinations can help the economy and food production.
“The COVID pandemic presented many challenges for our farms, but none were taken more seriously than the protection of our employees,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.
"While there were isolated COVID outbreaks on farms, it is as important as ever to do all that we can to keep farmworkers safe for their own well-being and that of the food supply chain" added Fisher. "Our farmers want to ensure that their staff members are up to date on required vaccines and as front-line workers are among the first to be vaccinated when an approved COVID vaccine is available.”