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New York Spends $15 Million To Target Areas With Low Vaccination Rates

As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise gradually in New York, state officials will now spend $15 million to encourage unvaccinated individuals to get the shot in zip codes with the lowest rates of inoculation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

That funding will be given to four organizations and two community centers, which will then be tasked with working with members of the community to boost vaccination rates.

Cuomo, speaking at a press event in the Bronx, said those organizations will be key for reaching underserved communities that may be hesitant to receive the vaccine. As of Monday, about a quarter of adults in New York hadn’t been vaccinated against the virus.

“The approach has to be community-based organizations who can have conversations in the community,” Cuomo said. “With people who know them, who culturally know them, who know their issues and their fears.”

The funding will be given to the Hispanic Federation, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, the New York Immigration Coalition, and the Asian American Federal, with the former two receiving the bulk of that money.

The Charles B. Wang Community Center and the APICHA Community Health Center, both in New York City, will receive $1 million each.

New York is using those funds to target 117 zip codes from around the state with lower-than-average vaccination rates, though nearly 80% of those neighborhoods are in New York City or on Long Island. The remainder are spread across upstate New York.

The announcement comes as New York experiences an uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. The state’s positivity rate on Sunday was 2.3%, the highest it’s been since late April. Hospitalizations reached 546 Sunday, the highest since mid-June.