NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York is rolling out new incentives to get young people vaccinated. Now, some could even win a full ride to college.

But will the enticements work? And what else should be done to get the younger generation vaccinated?

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Watch: Gov. Cuomo Announces Latest COVID Vaccine Incentive 

For Anna Castellani, news that her 14-year-old daughter could win a scholarship is, “Amazing, amazing.”

The Dumbo, Brooklyn family had no idea that starting Thursday, New Yorkers age 12-17 who get their first Pfizer COVID-19 shot through July 7, could win one of 50 full scholarships — tuition and room and board — to SUNY or CUNY colleges, CBS2’s John Dias reported.

It’s a lucky coincidence the Castellanis decided to get their daughter the shot Thursday.

“I do a lot in public spaces and she needs to be protected. She’s basically a young woman,” Castellani said.


But while they think the incentive is a great idea, it may not work for everyone.

“I’m not sure everybody is that college oriented,” said Nina Lamb of Dumbo.

And others already in college and vaccinated are saying, hey, what about us?

“I wish I had that opportunity, but, I mean, it’s good for them,” NYU student Nikhil Isac said.

Some other incentives include winning a lotto ticket or at Madison Square Garden, Knicks playoff tickets.

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The scholarship move is an effort to encourage younger New Yorkers to get a vaccine. That population has the lowest vaccination rates.

“I think that’s because the vaccine hasn’t been distributed to pediatrics offices,” said Dr. Dyan Hes, founder of Gramercy Pediatrics. “These pharmacies are not prepared to deal with kids like that.”

Hes said the new college tuition incentive is nice, but the government should instead be paying for freezers in pediatricians’ offices so they can store the vaccines and administer them.

“Most pediatricians can’t pay for it,” Hes said.


From enticements to convenience, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that city health workers will now go to homes of New Yorkers 75 and older or people with disabilities to administer the shot, not just those home-bound, and mobile vaccine vans will also be going to summer hot spots.

“You are going to see the vaccine buses at the beaches. Go, get vaccinated, hit the beach,” de Blasio said.

The mayor also said the city is innovating ideas constantly to get people vaccinated, so we may see even more efforts soon.

Across New York state, a little more than half of residents have received at least one shot of a vaccine.

Nationwide, there has been a nearly 20% drop in average daily vaccinations since early May, but Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts the pandemic will be under control in the U.S. within a few months.

“Not only do I think it’s a humanitarian moral responsibility, but it’s in what I call ‘enlightened self interest’ for us to do that,” he said in a recent interview.

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New York will award 10 four-year scholarships by random drawings every Wednesday until July 7.

John Dias