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Hochul offers public college scholarship drawing for vaccinated kids

Angelo Esslinger from Pixabay

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is offering incentives for children aged 5 to 11 years old to get vaccinated, offering entry to a drawing for free college tuition to a public university for those who get their shots in the next few weeks.

Children under 12 became eligible for vaccines this week, and many parents have rushed to sign up their children at county health clinics and in schools. Governor Hochul said 700,000 doses have been ordered for the state’s children, about half of the total number who are eligible. She said she knows that some might be hesitant, however, and she’s offering some reasons for children to get their vaccines.

Over the next five weeks, all kids who get the vaccine will be entered into a drawing for a college scholarship at the State or City University campus of their choice.

“We are going to be allowing people to get vaccinated and then to be part of a pool. We will be selecting 50 names of children who will be receiving a full ride to a SUNY or CUNY institution,” Hochul said.

Hochul said she hopes that as the majority of school-aged children receive their shots, then mask mandates can be lifted.

The governor spoke at a health care center in the Westchester County City of Mount Vernon. The predominately African-American community has a vaccine rate of 61%, lower than the statewide average of 75% of adults who have received their first dose.

The scholarship will pay for an associates or bachelors program, and include the full cost of in-state tuition at a SUNY or CUNY school, full room and board and allowances for books, supplies and transportation. There will also be an allowance for room and board for both on campus and off campus students.

Karen has covered state government and politics for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 New York and Connecticut stations, since 1990. She is also a regular contributor to the statewide public television program about New York State government, New York Now. She appears on the reporter’s roundtable segment, and interviews newsmakers.