NEW YORK:___ Beginning this week, seniors age 65 or older who are unable to make their own arrangements and need transportation to and from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment can sign up for transportation through the City, Mayor de Blasio announced today.
“We are moving heaven and earth to get our senior neighbors vaccinated”, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now, seniors who need a ride to an appointment will get one, ensuring our vaccines go to those who need them most.”
“I would like to thank our network of senior centers and providers, who have worked tirelessly during the pandemic providing critical services to thousands of older adults, and are ready to mobilize transportation services and assist them in getting to their vaccination appointments. I also would like to thank the City, the Vaccine Command Center, and partners for ensuring we never forget our commitment to older adults as New York is an age inclusive city,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez.
Older New Yorkers age 65 and over who make an appointment for vaccine at a City-operated site will be asked whether they have a way to get to and from their appointment. If they require transportation, they will be screened and directed to transportation options, including Access-a-Ride, ambulette services, cab service via Curb and in a few weeks, transportation by select Senior Center programs. DFTA providers will be able to reach out and link seniors to transportation through phone outreach, ensuring that every senior knows the range of available options. In total, the City will offer approximately 10,000 rides per week.
To reach all New Yorkers age 65 and over, the City will broaden its outreach in partnership with nonprofit partners and trusted community leaders. With a comprehensive outreach campaign to be spearheaded by the Vaccine Planning Workgroup for Older New Yorkers, the City is partnering with local organizations to get the word out about safe and accessible vaccinations in New York City – knocking on doors, placing direct calls and robocalls, holding virtual townhalls, delivering flyers, and partnering with local health providers and more.
On-site vaccination clinics for seniors living in NYCHA developments are also up and running, providing on-site vaccinations for residents 65 and older. Clinics at Van Dyke I & II Houses in Brooklyn, Cassidy Lafayette Houses in Staten Island, and Polo Grounds Towers in Manhattan are currently open, with plans to move to different sites across the city in the coming weeks.
“Coordinating with our aging service providers to connect older adults with information and transportation is the most effective way to achieve herd immunity for older New Yorkers. To ensure priority populations are vaccinated as soon as possible, we must have multi-lingual outreach in tandem with immunization. I am confident that pop-up sites at NYCHA facilities will be the fastest way to bring vaccines to the city’s most vulnerable seniors, and I am hopeful that this effort can be replicated city-wide,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.