As New York City shows that it is “Strong Enough” to recover from the pandemic, Columbia University’s Irwin Redlener and Cher unveiled the donation of a COVID-19 testing and vaccination bus to the NYC Health + Hospitals Test & Trace Corps. The gift from the CherCares Pandemic Resource and Response Fund, in partnership with Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness and Children’s Health Fund, will bring mobile testing and vaccinations to young people and families in neighborhoods across New York City where the need is greatest.
Redlener, who worked with Cher to create CherCares and currently directs the Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, highlighted the important new program and the partnership with Cher: “From the beginning of our work together it was clear that Cher wanted to do something significant to help people who were vulnerable to COVID-19, especially those who lived in marginalized communities where access to [personal protective equipment] and even basic medical was challenging. Her $1 million personal donation has helped thousands of highly vulnerable people throughout this crisis.”
“If anyone is ‘strong enough’, it’s the people of this city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The more New Yorkers who get vaccinated and protect one another, the closer we will be to moving on from this pandemic and getting back to the people and the activities that we love. I’m grateful to CherCares and Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness for their support.”
Launching in Harlem, the mobile Family Testing and Vaccination Center is accompanied by an additional $141,000 donation from CherCares to support Test & Trace Corps operations. The bus is the largest in the Test & Trace Corps mobile fleet of more than 70 units, and the first to offer both testing and vaccinations for New Yorkers.
“I feel so fortunate to be able to do my part to ensure access for the children and families in New York City — my second home — by going directly into the community in hopes it will encourage more New Yorkers to come on board and keep themselves and their neighbors safe,” said Cher. “Dr. Redlener and I are grateful to partner with the city and Mayor de Blasio to provide this service at no cost to anyone and reach as many people as possible.”
The mobile Family Testing and Vaccination Center offers both standard PCR COVID-19 tests and rapid antigen COVID-19 testing with results returned within 15 minutes, and administers the approved COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. All families with children ages 4 and older are encouraged to visit the bus for testing and all New Yorkers 12 and older can receive their COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of immigration status or insurance coverage. Services are provided at no cost, and appointments are not required.
This story was originally posted on irwinredlener.org.