COVID Recovery ∙ Public Health
Effective, Equitable Vaccine Distribution
“New York City is the best city in the world. Our healthcare infrastructure and public health strategy needs to meet the urgency of this moment.”
Access to the COVID-19 vaccine is the key to getting New York back on its feet. New York has to be the number one place where all residents, regardless of age, race, life experience, immigration status, ability and more, know that a vaccine is at their fingertips. Unfortunately, our City has failed far too many New Yorkers, especially those who are most vulnerable, in ensuring that vaccines are within reach at the soonest moment possible.
Immediate, Expanded Vaccine Access for the Hardest Hit Neighborhoods
As the City is rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine, a one-size-fits-all approach has demonstrated negligent results for communities of color that have been hit hardest by COVID.
To address the fact that communities of color have been hardest hit by the pandemic, anyone over the age of 40 who lives in the top 10% of hardest-hit zip codes must be eligible to receive the vaccine immediately. The City must invest in hyper-local outreach and ensure there are vaccination sites within walking distance of the most at-risk communities in schools, community centers, and mobile sites. Expanded access must be coupled with onsite registration and vaccination slots reserved for same-day access to community members.
Unfettered Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine
A Yang Administration will ultimately ensure that the City has 24/7 citywide availability of the vaccine, administered by trusted providers, along with associated counseling, in the languages that New Yorkers speak.
We will make vaccines available at local doctors offices, at safety net providers across the five boroughs, and pharmacies to reach people in communities beyond hospitals and vaccination sites. We will also make sure that those who are among the most vulnerable to COVID—including people who are in City jails or living in shelters—have access to the vaccine as soon as possible.
Repurpose Underutilized Businesses as Vaccine Distribution Sites
Many New Yorkers cannot access a physical vaccine site because they are homebound. Others find the trip to a doctor’s office or vaccination site challenging due to their work schedules, caregiving responsibilities or comfort level. While the city has begun an ambulette service for those who cannot access transportation, this is not enough.
Our administration will bring the vaccine to New Yorkers - in their neighborhoods and on demand. We will do so by reinvigorating shuttered venues, theaters, restaurants and bars, repurposing them as vaccine distribution centers. We will provide direct funding for business owners to reopen and temporarily retrofit their businesses so they are sound for vaccine dissemination, while giving business owners the capital they need to open up when it is safe to do so.
We will also rethink the use of mobile facilities - existing resources like mobile medical units that non-profit providers make use of regularly - and more creative solutions like retrofitted mobile food trucks that are currently struggling - for safe vaccine distribution, staffed by qualified health professionals.
Seamless Signup and Universal Data Sharing
We will ensure the ability to sign up on a seamless web portal and by phone on one integrated platform that coordinates the efforts of state-run facilities like the Javits Center, Health and Hospitals (H+H), private hospitals, safety net providers and independent medical practices, rather than multiple portals to entry and sign up.
Our administration will also ensure that all individual providers can opt in to New York City’s vaccine tracking system.
Expand New York City’s Paid Sick Days Law to Cover Vaccination-Related Care
A Yang administration will clarify that our already-robust paid sick and safe time can be used for all people to access and recover from a COVID-19 vaccine.
Targeted Community Outreach and Empowering Trusted Healthcare Providers
Many communities - especially communities of color - are wary of the vaccine. Given our country’s shameful history of racist medical malpractice and medical experimentation on communities of color and immigrants, fear is understandable. However, we must continue to ensure that healthcare providers of color are able to amplify their trust in the vaccine across New York City.
Our administration will engage in an aggressive citywide outreach campaign to reach all New Yorkers - especially New Yorkers of color, seniors, New Yorkers who speak languages other than English and undocumented New Yorkers.
We will also follow the example of healthcare providers of color in Philadelphia to augment efforts to build trust for the vaccine in communities of color, by trusted providers of color.
Real Time Accountability and Disaggregated Data
A Yang administration will ensure real-time accountability for vaccination updates, including daily postings by neighborhood and demographic information of those who have received vaccines. We must ensure that information is as transparent as possible so that our efforts to get all communities the vaccine is reaching all New Yorkers, especially communities who are at greatest risk.
Robust vaccination access and vaccine verification is our first step towards ensuring that New Yorkers are not putting the health and well-being of others at risk.
All New Yorkers would be able to receive a vaccine verification on the NYC App, a smartphone application, as well as using a physical card. Like scanning a ticket for entry into a concert or public event, every New Yorker will have the opportunity to display their NYC App or vaccine verification card, that demonstrates that they have been vaccinated.
As businesses emerge from the pandemic, New York City’s ability to partner with businesses that have shuttered is one pathway to enabling businesses to open up sooner.
Learning from Our Past, Planning for the Future
Within our first 100 days in office, a Yang administration will release a Public Health Playbook for New York City that gathers the best practices and learnings from the COVID crisis to prevent and respond to future pandemics and health crises.