With a disturbing rise in vaccine hesitancy spreading on WeChat and Facebook, Sandra Ung today joined with doctors from CAIPA to urge local residents to get vaccinated.
Through her outreach to the community, Sandra Ung has repeatedly been told that local residents have read on WeChat or Facebook or heard from friends that vaccines are not safe. This has only accelerated since the announcement of a pause on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Despite virtually all adult New Yorkers now being eligible to get vaccinated, vaccine appointments have remained open for longer periods of time than before, and appointment websites like TurboVax are reporting a sharp decrease in visits.
After a rigorous set of clinical trials that met the highest scientific standards, the United States has already administered over 211 million doses of the vaccines and severe reactions are extremely rare. While the pause on the J&J vaccine caused many New Yorkers to worry, it’s important that we recognize that the pause is a sign that the protective system is working.
Sandra said, “This is not the time to let up in our efforts to get everybody vaccinated. The risk to local residents is still very real. From April 11-April 17, our community had a positivity rate of 9.24%, the second highest of any zip code in the five boroughs and considerably higher than the citywide average of 4.43%. In 11354, one out of every 135 people have already passed away due to COVID-19. Please, if you are eligible, get vaccinated. If not for yourself, get the vaccine for your loved ones. If you are already vaccinated, encourage your friends, family and neighbors to get the vaccine. Help each other make appointments. And most importantly: listen to the experts like the medical professionals here today.”
Dr. George Liu, President and CEO of CAIPA said, “We really need to tell community members the importance of the vaccine. The vaccine is the only weapon we have to fight against this virus. The chance of complications from the vaccine, even Johnson and Johnson, are much lower than the chance of dying from the virus. There is a one in a million chance of getting hit by lightning, similar to the chance of suffering complications from the vaccine. Compare that to the dangers presented by the virus, which are much higher."
Dr Eliza Ng, the CMO of CAIPA, said, "The vaccines have been studied in tens of thousands of people during the clinical trials, including Asians. The safety protocol has not only been studied, it's been proven. I estimate that over 99% of doctors at CAIPA have been vaccinated - if you trust your doctors, you should trust that we know the science. But even after you get vaccinated, everybody should wear a mask and practice social distancing."
Dr. Richard Ng said, "There is a one in a million chance of suffering complications from the vaccine, but 20% of those who get COVID end up in the hospital and 1% die. Nothing is 100%, but the vaccine is safe and effective."
Sandra also urged the city to do better at reaching out to New York’s diverse communities to communicate the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. She argued for more outreach on different mediums, including WeChat and in non-English newspapers, explaining the merits of vaccination and the risks of not getting the vaccine.
Sandra thanked CAIPA for being a fierce advocate for Flushing residents throughout the pandemic. CAIPA was one of the first organizations to bring a van for testing to Flushing, and have worked tirelessly to secure vaccine doses for local residents. Sandra noted that this burden should not have fallen on their shoulders, but praised them for stepping up and protecting our community in its more dire moment of need.
Sandra Ung encouraged residents to make use of the walk-up appointment sites at Flushing Library and CitiField, which are now open to all individuals over 50 years old. The CitiField site is offering walk-up vaccinations 24/7 while the Flushing Library has walk-up vaccines Wednesday through Monday, 12pm-8pm.
Sandra also reported that door-to-door vaccinations will once again start up after being temporarily paused last week - the city will be administering Moderna vaccines instead of J&J. New Yorkers can sign up for a door-to-door vaccine at https://forms.cityofnewyork.us/f/homebound. Sandra also offered the services of her office to residents who need help signing up; they can call 718 521 6192 and leave a message.