A group of high-performing public charter schools from across the Bronx launched a new campaign Wednesday to encourage educators, school staff and community members to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Over the last year, teachers and schools have had to adapt to unprecedented obstacles to meet the needs of the students they serve. But the vaccines make it more possible for schools to open safely.
To help encourage more vaccinations and be a part of the solution, teachers at several Bronx charter public schools released a new digital ad entitled, “Why I Got the Shot,” detailing why they received the vaccine and how critical inoculation is for students to be able to safely return to full in-person learning.
“Over the last year, our borough has faced incredible obstacles — ones that we’ve overcome,” said Janelle Bradshaw, CEO of Public Prep. “Now, we have a simple message to educators and residents everywhere who are concerned about the vaccine: it’s about keeping our kids and our communities safe. That’s why I received the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as I was eligible, and with this new campaign, if we can encourage even a few people to get vaccinated, we’ve helped make the future even brighter for the Bronx.”
The Bronx remains one of the areas hardest-hit by COVID-19, but it still has one of the lowest rates of vaccine inoculation across the city. A recent survey found that 8 % of Bronx residents have decided against getting a vaccine and 49 % indicated that concern about side effects was a significant factor in this decision.
The same survey shows that 42 % of New Yorkers expressed hesitancy about the vaccine, 10 % of New Yorkers said they will only take the vaccine after someone they know received it and 14 % will only take it after many people they know receive it. Data from late March shows that 26 % of Bronx residents have received at least one shot. Vaccine hesitancy remains a real challenge nationwide and across New York City.
The new ad builds on recent virtual community vaccine awareness forums held by local charter public schools and SOMOS Community Care, NYC’s leading physician-led network of nearly 2,500 physicians serving Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Physicians led bilingual (English and Spanish) forums with several schools and hundreds of local parents to answer questions from staff and families about the vaccine, dispel myths about it and encourage inoculation.
“Getting the vaccine isn’t just protecting yourself and your loved ones,” said Melissa Melkonian, founder of American Dream Charter School. “It’s also about protecting children in our community, allowing them to return to classrooms in-person and keep schools open from here on out. As we all know, teachers have been on the front lines serving our children, and we hope this message will resonate with anyone who sees the campaign. The vaccines are safe and effective, and they’re about moving our children and our city into the future – together.”
For more information about the new campaign, visit ThankYouBronx.com, which offers vaccine resources for school staff, educators and parents.