Westchester launches pop-up vaccination sites in effort to reach unvaccinated

File photo: A COVID-19 walk-in vaccination site in Ossining. Photo credit Mark Vergari/The Journal News via Imagn Content Services, LLC

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – COVID-19 cases are up across the Tri-State as the Delta variant of the coronavirus accounts for a 120% spike in active cases nationally over the past month.

To help reverse that trend, Westchester County is launching pop-up vaccination sites. County Executive George Latimer said officials are working with local community groups to bring the pop-up sites to vulnerable minority communities in places like Mount Vernon, Ossining and Tuckahoe.

“To try to get messages out there, to reach individuals with people who they would respect—ministers, young people will see sports players—a message that tries to reach them from a credible source that says that the vaccines are safe, we’ve had such a large percentage of people taking it,” Latimer said.

So far, 78% of Westchester adults have at least one shot. Latimer hopes to vaccinate another 5% or so.

“If we have 20% of Westchester residents that have not been vaccinated, I would hope that we could get a minimum of 5%, or one quarter of the portion that has not yet been vaccinated,” Latimer said. “I do think the hardcore, won’t-be-vaccinated number would stall us somewhere in the mid-80s at best.”

Latimer knows some people simply won’t budge.

“Folks who fall into that category are just unwilling. No amount of making it available to them is going to bring them around to get a vaccination shot. So we’re going to work as much as we can with the coalition of the willing to get our numbers up,” Latimer said. “But we’re going to reach a point at which accessibility to the vaccinations won’t be enough.”

Connecticut too is making a push to get out the vaccine as COVID cases increase there. Gov. Ned Lamont said there is no plan right now for a new mask mandate; he’ll decide about masks in schools in a week or two.