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For Immediate Release
December 22, 2020


“Take Your Shot” Campaign Encourages Residents To Get The Covid-19 Vaccine, College to Assist in Distribution of Life Saving Vaccine

Interim College President Louis Petrizzo and College Trustee Theresa Sanders Speak at County Executive's News Conference
Interim College President Louis Petrizzo and College Trustee Theresa Sanders Speak at County Executive's News Conference

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone visited Suffolk County Community College's Michael J. Grant Campus in Brentwood today to kick off a robust public awareness campaign about the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, and to encourage residents to pledge to #TakeYourShot against COVID-19. The County’s “Take Your Shot” initiative will be a multifaceted, multimedia campaign that will incorporate social media, paid digital advertising, and trusted community stakeholders, with the goal of securing pledges from at least 850,000 County residents to commit to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine signals the ending of this pandemic, but it will only work if the majority of our residents participate,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone.Getting vaccinated is not only criticalto protecting the health and safety of our communities, but is vital in our continued economic recovery, and keeping our businesses and schools open. Our goal is to vaccinate more than 850,000 County residents, and over the next 100 days we will work tirelessly to spread the word that this vaccine is safe, effective and will save lives.”

The educational campaign will open a dialogue on the importance of getting vaccinated, address any misinformation or lack of trust, and disseminate guidance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Suffolk County will mobilize and leverage resources from the Health Department, Police Department, Department of Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services, the Office of Minority Affairs, and Suffolk311 to engage directly with residents regarding the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.

As part of the “Take Your Shot” initiative, the County will launch a social media campaign encouraging doctors, nurses, first responders, community leaders and the general public to share short videos about why they plan on getting vaccinated against COVID-19, using the hashtag, #TakeYourShot. The County will then share these videos across various platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to raise awareness.

As part of the #TakeYourShot campaign, Suffolk County will leverage $50,000 in funding to undertake a robust paid advertising campaign to educate residents on the importance of inoculation. The paid campaign will incorporate digital radio advertisements featuring trusted health leaders, such as the County Health Commissioner, social media ads, billboard signs, and more.

And finally, Suffolk County will collaborate with a variety of outside organizations and stakeholders to reach targeted communities, including communities of color who have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. The various trusted stakeholders, which will include the business community, faith-based organizations, health care providers, school districts and more, will work to educate and encourage their memberships and communities to get vaccinated. The County will work in partnership with these groups through various platforms including social media, zoom, and other marketing tools to distribute information regarding the vaccine.

Dr. Gregson Pigott, Suffolk County Commissioner of Health Services said: "Immunization is one of the greatest medical advances of modern times. We’ve used vaccines to entirely wipe out smallpox, and in the U.S. we’ve come extremely close to eradicating polio, diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, and tetanus, among others. We are hopeful that Suffolk County residents will look to the successes of immunization and get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.”

Suffolk County Community College Interim President, Louis Petrizzo said: “The County Executive’s message today is an important one and everyone needs to do their part in eliminating this virus. Science has given us highly effective and safe vaccines and we now have to make sure that these vaccines are available to every man and woman in Suffolk County. The College will make all of its campuses available from Brentwood to Riverhead to assist in the distribution of this life saving vaccine."

Tracy Edwards, Long Island Regional Director of the NAACP said: “As the NAACP Long Island Regional Director, I believe that all people need to take this vaccine. I understand the skepticism and the history, but all of us, collectively, have been through a lot. We need to do our research on the vaccine and do what we can to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. The best way we will be able to do that is by taking our shot.”

Leading public health experts agree, the vaccine is critical to the continued economic recovery of our region, as we work to keep schools open, businesses open, and our communities healthy and safe. Suffolk County has set the goal of vaccinating 75 percent of eligible residents, which equates to more than 850,000 County residents. Visit, www.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ for additional information on the vaccine.