Though the approval of the Pfizer, Moderna and soon the Johnson & Johnson vaccines provided a light at the end of this very dark tunnel, we’re not there yet. With COVID and its variants spreading, and positivity rates still too high in the city and state, everyone has to remain vigilant, take precautions and get tested frequently.
To get to the end of this pandemic, all levels of government must work together to expedite the manufacturing and distribution of available COVID-19 vaccines. To give credit where credit is due, since the Biden administration began in late January, the number of doses being sent to states has shot up by 28 percent, according to administration officials.
Last week, we got more good news with the announcement of new Community Vaccination Centers at York College and Medgar Evers College. Teams of federal officials will help coordinate workers on the ground to get thousands of shots into the arms of Queens and Brooklyn residents daily.
The Biden administration is also partnering with 20 retail pharmacies, such as Walgreens/Duane Reade and Rite Aid, to provide vaccines directly to Americans in places that they trust and depend on for their health needs.
Trust is a key component of the nationwide vaccination effort, especially with communities that have been historically skeptical of state-sponsored medical efforts. That’s why community leaders, whether it’s elected officials, nonprofit organizatons or civic groups, must continue to do their part in building that trust with their constituents.
With a keen focus on equity, the city and state have to cooperate and build out the infrastructure to ensure the most vulnerable New Yorkers get vaccines as soon as possible. Knowing the racial disparities in distribution so far, we have to do a better job vaccinating Black and brown residents.
With the proper trust, infrastructure and collaboration among all parties, we can finally bring this pandemic to an end and start the recovery we desperately need.