(Port Chester, NY) — On Tuesday, July 6, State Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Port Chester Mayor Luis A. Marino acknowledged the progress made in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with the recent announcement of distribution of American-made vaccines to Central and South America. They specifically thanked United States Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer for his leadership in obtaining $20 billion in funding to ensure vaccines were distributed to other nations, and again for his strong advocacy to ensure vaccines went to South and Central America. They were joined by Megan Glander, Senator Schumer’s Regional Representative for Westchester County, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, Westchester County Legislator Nancy Barr, Verena Arnabal on behalf of State Assemblymember Steve Otis, and community leaders at Inca & Gaucho, a Peruvian restaurant in Port Chester.
Senator Schumer was key to providing federal funding for worldwide vaccine distribution in the COVID stimulus bill, and additionally, his office was instrumental in ensuring the Office of President Biden heard the concerns of the people of Port Chester about the pressing need for quality vaccines in South and Central America. Port Chester is unique among Westchester municipalities, with over 70 percent of the village’s population of Hispanic origin, and 44 percent of the population foreign-born. According to recent statistics, of those born outside of the United States, 11 percent were born in Peru, 19 percent were born in Mexico, 14 percent were born in Ecuador, and 21 percent were born in Guatemala. Mayor Marino was born in Peru, and members of his family still reside there.
Prior to the White House’s June 28 announcement that 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine would be shipped to Peru, Senator Schumer’s office heard from Senator Mayer and Mayor Marino about the special interest of Port Chester residents to have vaccines distributed promptly to the nations where they were born, and still have many family members at risk.
Senator Shelley B. Mayer said: “I was so pleased to learn the United States would be shipping vaccines to South and Central America, and particularly to the nation of Peru. This is great news for the Port Chester community, which has a large immigrant population with family members living in the nations of South and Central America. Thank you to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer for taking the time to listen to the concerns of our district and advocating for our Port Chester families.”
Port Chester Mayor Luis A. Marino said: "I am happy to know that help is on the way to my fellow countrymen and hope that it is used efficiently to aid in the fight against COVID-19. The pandemic took the life of my brother, who was residing in Peru. I thank U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer for his support and am grateful to the Biden administration for this action."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said: “We know from painful experience that Covid is a global pandemic, and defeating it will require a global vaccination effort. That is why I was proud to join with the vibrant and vital Peruvian American community and other residents of Port Chester with strong connections to Central and South American countries to secure over $4B for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization in the American Rescue Plan to improve worldwide vaccine access. In addition, after working with Senator Mayer, Mayor Marino, and other advocates, last week we announced that 2 million vaccines doses are on their way to Peru from the United States paid for by the $20B in vaccine funding I secured in last December’s COVID relief package. As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at home and work to end the pandemic worldwide, I’ll keep working to make the United States a worldwide arsenal of vaccines.”
This action is part of the larger effort to distribute vaccines globally. Other countries who have received vaccines from the United States include Mexico, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Taiwan, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. Guatemala is expected to receive 1.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine this week.
Assemblyman Steve Otis said: "Through vaccination we have made great strides turning back Covid-19 in most of the United States. In many countries, including South America, there is great demand for the vaccine but inadequate supply. Thanks to Senator Schumer we are doing our part to address this pressing global public health need in places where the vaccine is in short supply."
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “The story today is about leadership and about compassion. This transferal of the vaccine from the United States to Peru represents saving lives.”
Westchester County Legislator Nancy Barr said: “The importance of helping other nations gain access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines cannot be overstated. In addition to helping the people in their native country, the health of our residents, as well as the health of our economy, depend on global success in the fight against COVID. I am so grateful to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Schumer, State Senator Mayer and Port Chester Mayor Marino for recognizing this imperative and I am delighted to celebrate with them and with members of the Port Chester Peruvian and Latin American community as the U.S. prepares to send vaccines to Peru and other countries in need.”
Don Bosco Workers Coordinator and Organizer Pedro Peña said: “We are grateful for helping us in this form, by seeing our families in our countries can count on the same quality of vaccine that we receive. Also many of those people are the grandparents, parents or siblings of citizens of this country in addition to helping them, you are helping us get out of this situation, that has impacted everyone in the world, faster.”
Port Chester Immigrant Defense Member Gregg Hamilton said: “According to a recent Census, Peru is the 4th most common country of origin among Port Chester's majority-minority Hispanic population. And, over 2,000 residents of Port Chester reported Peruvian ancestry in 2018. As we have learned, a global pandemic anywhere equates to a global pandemic everywhere. In order to overcome the COVID-19 virus we need to inoculate our family members both here on the Sound Shore AND ALSO in their homeland since there is a steady stream of travel and, potentially, disease transmission between here and our countries of origin. Thank you, Senator Schumer, for helping to defeat the pandemic by supporting the delivery of vaccines to Peru and to Central and South America.”
Unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to get vaccinated to protect their families, friends and communities from COVID-19.