On Monday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Rockland will finally be receiving a mass vaccination site of its own. Despite leading the state in infections and deaths due to COVID-19, Rocklanders have previously had to rely on mass vaccination sites in Westchester County and other areas to receive the vital medication.
The announcement comes exactly one week after Rockland County Legislators, alongside more than 100 locally-elected village, town and county officials banded together to implore Gov. Cuomo to promptly open a mass vaccination site.
In a joint letter sent to the Governor, Rockland’s leadership highlighted the alarming fact that the areas of Rockland with the highest number of infections over the past year currently have the lowest vaccination rates – between 6 percent and 15 percent – versus the overall county vaccination rate of 22.7 percent.
Thankfully, the state is now in the process of establishing an additional state-run mass vaccination site at Rockland Community College’s Eugene Levy Fieldhouse; the site is in development and is expected to open Thursday, April 1 with appointments opening at 8:00 am Tuesday, March 30. Hours of operation for the Rockland Community College site are 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, seven days a week.
“The opening of Rockland Community College as a mass vaccination site will have an immediate impact on our county as we continue to grapple with one of the highest infection rates in New York State,” said County Executive Ed Day. “I appreciate all of our residents and the local elected officials who spoke out in favor of opening this site and I thank the Governor and his staff for listening to our concerns and stepping up to help protect the people of Rockland.”
This welcome news comes on the heels of another update from the Governor, who earlier that day stated that beginning Tuesday, March 30 at 8:00 a.m., all New Yorkers 30 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
In its announcement, the state government reported that more than 2 million total COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered at New York State-run and FEMA-assisted mass vaccination sites. Across New York, more than 9 million total doses have been administered in total.
Despite that progress, New York saw a 64 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases last week. Rockland health officials reported 198 new cases of the virus in that time-frame, bringing the county total to 43,130.
“Today we take a monumental step forward in the fight to beat COVID,” said Cuomo. “As we continue to expand eligibility, New York will double down on making the vaccine accessible for every community to ensure equity, particularly for communities of color who are too often left behind. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but until we get there it is more important than ever for each and every New Yorker to wear a mask, socially distance and follow all safety guidelines.”