In Address to Three New York Churches, Governor Cuomo Reassures New Yorkers in Hardest Hit Communities that the Covid-19 Vaccine is Safe and Will Save Lives: “We All Need to Trust the Vaccine”


Address Delivered to The People’s AME Zion Church in Syracuse, Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Rochester, and Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn

All Three Churches Will Host Pop-Up Vaccination Sites; Rochester and Syracuse Open Tomorrow, Brooklyn Opens Tuesday

Governor Cuomo: “We now have a vaccine that will save lives, but it will only save lives if we take it. While the vaccine is scarce across the country, I am working as hard as I can to get it here for you. I will fight to deliver it, and we will make it available through churches, community groups, public housing in many different ways to make sure it is accessible to the hardest hit communities of color. The second issue is where I need your help. We all need to trust the vaccine.”

Earlier today, in a virtual address delivered to three New York churches, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo reassured all New Yorkers, particularly those in communities hardest hit by COVID-19, that the vaccine is safe and will save lives. The address builds on the Governor’s commitment to equity in vaccine distribution, bringing it to communities that do not have access to traditional healthcare institutions by using churches and public housing, among other locations. The Syracuse and Rochester church sites open tomorrow, January 25, and the Brooklyn site opens on Tuesday, January 26.

Yesterday, the Governor announced that community vaccination kits will be deployed to eight additional New York churches to further strengthen fairness and equity in the vaccine distribution process. As with the pop-up sites established last weekend, these sites will be re-established in three weeks to administer second doses. Last week, New York successfully piloted the deployment kits to five NYCHA senior housing developments and eight churches and cultural centers where nearly 4,200 seniors and eligible New Yorkers received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Following this weekend’s deployments and as the federal vaccine supply increases, New York will continue to be deploy these kits until pop-up sites have been established at all 33 NYCHA Senior Housing Developments which house more than 7,600 seniors. Pop-up locations will also be established at other public housing complexes statewide, as well as at more than 300 churches and cultural centers which have volunteered to house these sites through Governor Cuomo’s Vaccine Equity Task Force.

VIDEO of the Governor’s remarks is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of today’s remarks is available here.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks to The People’s AME Zion Church in Syracuse is available below:

Thank you, Reverend Jaime, for that warm introduction. I’m very grateful to you for your friendship, your leadership, your service, on the New York Health Equity Task Force and New York Forward Interfaith Council and the Governor’s Interfaith Advisory Council. Thank you for what you’ve done.

It’s good to be in a new year and starting a new day. I have high hopes for New York in this new year. But as the good book says, we all have to do our part. The COVID beast is still among us, and has been for 330 days. Some people say that they are fatigued in dealing with COVID. Unfortunately we don’t have that luxury. This is a war, and if we tire before the enemy, the enemy wins, it’s that simple.

Some people aren’t afraid of COVID. To them, I say don’t be cocky about COVID. 144 people died yesterday from COVID.

COVID was low tide in America. It exposed the racism and the discrimination and the injustice that laid on the bottom of America. Blacks died at twice the rate of whites. Hispanics died at one and a half times the rate of whites.

We now have a vaccine that will save lives, but it will only save lives if we take it. While the vaccine is scarce across the country, I am working as hard as I can to get it here for you.

I will fight to deliver it, and we will make it available through churches, community groups, public housing in many different ways to make sure it is accessible to the hardest hit communities of color.

The second issue is where I need your help. We all need to trust the vaccine.

I know there is skepticism about government and about the Trump Administration in particular. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t trust many actions of the Trump Administration. But this vaccine was reviewed by the best doctors and hospitals in New York State and it is safe.

COVID-19 Vaccine

My mother, who is 65 plus, will take it.

I have my daughters, who I love more than life itself, they will take it when they are eligible. And I will take it also. You should take it too.

The bottom line is COVID can kill you, and the vaccine can save you. Let’s save lives, and let’s rebuild this state back better and stronger than ever before.

Together, I know we can do it.

Thank you so much for having me, and God bless.