Community Update: Vaccine Distribution, Voting Rights Package, Coat & Toiletries Drive, and more
Many of you have reached out to my office to receive clarification and share your concerns regarding the Vaccine Distribution Program. My office & I are in daily communication with Governor Andrew Cuomo's Office and Westchester County government about improving the process. Approximately 300,000 doses of the approved vaccines are allocated to NYS weekly from the federal government, and we do not currently have enough doses to meet the demand. As of Monday, January 11th, New York entered Phase 1B of the Vaccine Distribution Program which includes New Yorkers 65 years and older. Many are experiencing challenges with scheduling an appointment. There are more people eligible to receive the vaccine than there are appointments or doses of the vaccine currently available.
I am pushing the state to improve its distribution and communication protocols so that eligible constituents get their questions answered. To date, I am dissatisfied with the progress of the rollout. The incoming federal administration has made vaccine distribution a top priority, and they promise to increase the pace of vaccine production once they are in control of the federal plan. We must continue to be patient until the number of doses we receive increases to meet eligibility. I am including information below that allows New Yorkers to determine if they are currently eligible to receive the vaccine and where to make an appointment. I urge you to check these resources daily as new locations are expected to open for appointments.
On Monday, January 11th, my Senate colleagues and I adopted a package of election reforms to enhance the state's absentee ballot laws. The 2020 Primaries and General Election reaffirmed the critical benefit of allowing all voters the safe and easily accessible option of voting by mail. The package of reforms we adopted this week includes expediting review and canvassing of ballots, establishing absentee ballot drop boxes, and requiring absentee ballot tracking, among other reforms. Read more below about the full package of reforms to further empower New York voters.
In addition to this week's Legislative Session, I was glad to participate in a series of meetings and events in the district, including: hosting an event regarding residential tenants' rights during the COVID-19 crisis; speaking at the North Castle Town Board meeting; speaking at the swearing-in celebration for my new colleague, Assemblymember Chris Burdick; and attending the 4th Anniversary of the Yonkers MBK (My Brother’s Keeper) program.
I am also hosting two upcoming events: On Thursday, January 21st, I am co-hosting a tribute to Assemblyman David Buchwald for his many years of service and dedication to our communities; and on Saturday, January 30th, my Youth Advisory Council is sponsoring a Coat & Toiletries Drive in commemoration of the MLK Day of Service. More details about both of these events are included below.
As always, if there is anything my office can assist you with, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 934-5250.
Shelley B. Mayer