New York state is focusing its latest COVID-19 vaccination campaign on getting college students dosed before they leave campus for the summer.
The state will provide a new, direct allocation of 35,000 vaccines to SUNY and private colleges to shore up protection for students before they leave this semester, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The initial allocation will include 21,000 vaccines to be administered to SUNY students and 14,000 vaccines to be administered at private colleges. The doses will be used for residential and non-commuter students who are leaving for summer.
The separate vaccine allocation will in part be administered to SUNY students at the state-run mass vaccination sites at two Long Island locations: Suffolk County Community College - Brentwood, Suffolk Federal Credit Union Arena, 1001 Crooked Hill Road, Brentwood; and SUNY Old Westbury, Clark Center - Gate C, Store Hill Road and Cherry Road, Old Westbury.
Students can make appointments directly through their schools. These new allocations will allow New York to more efficiently vaccinate the college student population in partnership with the state's medical providers, Cuomo said.
Not sure how the process works? Check out our handy tri-state vaccine site finder and FAQs here
New York City and New Jersey Vaccine Providers
Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Data: City of New York, State of New Jersey • Nina Lin / NBC
Cuomo said SUNY would take the lead in being a model for vaccinating students on college campuses. He said positivity rates are rising among 18- to 24-year-olds, many of them enrolled in colleges and universities, and he wants to get as many of them vaccinated before the end of the school year.
"It makes all the sense in the world to use the schools as the base for the vaccine," Cuomo said. "The State of New York is announcing that we will be giving direct allocations to colleges and universities so they can vaccinate their students in their facilities and help us stamp out the COVID beast. This is the moment of opportunity and we have COVID on the run, but we have to stay New York tough and New York smart. We focused on older people in the beginning of this process, and they were the priority, but we need herd immunity and we need every New Yorker vaccinated, and that includes New York's young people and students."
Tracking Coronavirus in Tri-State
For his part, SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said vaccinating students before they leave for summer break is key to restoring normalcy when they return in the fall.
"Our students have been a shining example throughout the crisis, with weekly mandatory testing, mask policies, and helping on the frontlines—and the result is a low positivity rate on our campuses of 0.32 percent over the past week. Our students have been crystal clear on this issue: they want to get vaccinated," Malatras said in a statement. "Between existing state and county-run sites on our campuses, emerging student-specific points-of-distribution, allocated vaccine doses, and a massive public awareness campaign—we will stop at nothing to get students vaccinated and to help end this pandemic."
The subject of vaccinations -- specifically, whether students should be required to be fully vaccinated before they return to campus in the fall -- has been a key point of debate for U.S. colleges and universities across the country.
Universities including Rutgers, Brown, Cornell and Northeastern recently told students they must get vaccinated before returning to campus next fall. They hope to achieve herd immunity on campus, which they say would allow them to loosen spacing restrictions in classrooms and dorms.
But some colleges are leaving the decision to students, and others believe they can't legally require vaccinations. At Virginia Tech, officials determined that they can’t because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has only allowed the emergency use of the vaccines and hasn't given them its full approval.