BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — More than 65% of New Yorkers have taken at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Among the youngest New Yorkers who are eligible, just under 10% of 12-17 year olds are now vaccinated.
"Because first they weren't eligible for the vaccine until fairly recently. All of our messaging has been young people don't need to worry about it. It's older people who should really be concerned, but that's changed," Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the state will now focus on getting shots in the arms of those eligible under 18. The state has created an incentive for 12-17 year olds to be vaccinated: The chance to win a full ride to a SUNY school.
"This is about a $100,000 value this scholarship," Cuomo said.
Since the state announced that incentive one week ago, more than 45,000 12-17 year olds have rolled up their sleeves.
The governor is also encouraging health departments to team up with school districts and bring the vaccine right to students. That's something that's already been happening in Western New York in districts like Royalton-Hartland.
"It's something that our community supports for those folks who are interested in becoming vaccinated. It's something that our school board and administration believes is part of the solution in getting us back full time," Hank Stopinski, superintendent of the Royalton-Hartland Central School District, said.
He said it's as easy as walking down the hall.
"They've gotten permission from the high school principal to leave class and get their vaccination with their parents approval, understanding and knowledge of that," Stopinski said.