NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Even when the COVID-19 vaccine is available to the general public, that doesn’t mean everyone will be rushing to get it.

But as CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported Tuesday, a new campaign is trying to change that.

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Elmhurst, Queens was called ground zero of neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus during the first wave back in the spring. That’s where Lucy Mendez is currently selling masks.

Protection is important to her, especially after knowing people who have died.

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But when it comes to taking the vaccine when it’s available, “I [have to] see other people take it. What is the reactions? And maybe I’ll decide. But right now, I’m not sure,” she said.

Her hesitation is not uncommon. That’s why a coalition recently launched the “Let’s Get Immunized New York” movement.

“There’s a lot of apprehension. There’s a lot of misconceptions. But you need to educate yourself to understand why these vaccines are important because it protects the community,” said Lorraine Brathwaite-Harte of the NAACP New York State Conference.


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The NAACP is a part of the grassroots campaign that promotes science- and evidence-based information about the safety of various vaccines, especially in communities of color, where immunization rates are already lower.

“We have to be very clear and human. We have to provide information, answer questions, acknowledge hesitancies and follow up,” public health advocate Dr. Andrew Goldstein said.

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Local advocates say the city needs a plan that builds trust and removes barriers.

“Many of these families don’t have primary care physicians. They don’t have health insurance. So, the plan has to make it clear outreach and accessibility,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said.

Advocates say another key factor is making sure the vaccine is absolutely free to everyone.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would take the COVID-19 vaccine publicly to show that it’s safe.

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