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NYC kids ages 5-11 eligible for $100 bonus to get COVID-19 vaccine: ‘It buys a whole lot of candy’

A child receives the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

Children between the ages of 5 and 11 are eligible to receive $100 to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

The kids will need to have their parent or guardian’s consent to get vaccinated, and de Blasio cautioned that the shot can hurt a little.

But once it’s over, $100 awaits them, de Blasio said in his daily briefing from City Hall.

“It buys a whole lot of candy,” he smirked.

Like the city’s previous incentive efforts, vaccine recipients need to provide an email address, to which a link will be sent where they can redeem the $100 bonus after getting their shots, de Blasio spokeswoman Danielle Filson said.

The pediatric cash-for-jabs program is already up and running at city-operated vaccination sites, according to de Blasio.

Starting next week, children will also be able to collect the cash after getting vaccinated at pop-up sites at all public elementary schools across the city, the mayor said.

The Pfizer coronavirus vaccine is currently the only shot authorized for use in the 5-11 age group.

The push for inoculating children comes as the city’s vaccination rates are steadily climbing upward.

As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 74% of the city’s entire population had received at least one dose of vaccine, according to data from the Health Department. For the adult population, that rate stands at 87%, the data showed.

The city has for weeks already offered the $100 vaccine incentive for all other age groups. Municipal employees, who are as of this week mandated to be vaccinated to work, can collect $500 simply to get their life-saving shots.

Despite the generous bonuses, vaccine reluctance remains persistent among some demographics, especially public safety personnel.

As of Thursday, only about 79% of FDNY firefighters had gotten their jabs, according to City Hall data.

That has resulted in at least four FDNY units being out of service due to vaccine mandate-related staffing shortages, Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

De Blasio maintained that the FDNY has the situation under control and that contingency plans have allowed the department to keep up regular response times.

“The members of the FDNY who are showing up at work, doing their job, I want to thank them for the great job they’re doing,” de Blasio said. “And really what they deserve is for everyone else to come back to work, and help them do that work.”


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