Message from Brian L. Harper M.D., M.P.H.
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As of April 23 2021, more than 31,600,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tragically, we now have over 566,000 total deaths in the United States since the start of the pandemic. The vaccine rollout continues, with over 219 million doses being administered. Currently, 40.9 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine and 26.9 percent are now fully vaccinated. In New York State, 42.6 percent have received at least one dose and 29.2 percent are fully vaccinated. The testing positivity rate in New York State on April 21, 2021 was 2.06 percent—the lowest one-day positivity rate since November 5.

Vaccine access also continues to improve. New Yorkers age 60 and over are now eligible for walk-in vaccine appointments and will be accommodated at 16 New York State mass vaccination sites. Today, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced that all city-run vaccination sites will offer walk-in vaccines to New Yorkers 16 years and older, without previous geographic restrictions.

The American Museum of Natural History, a historic site, has also opened its doors to provide vaccinations for city residents "underneath the blue whale in the museum." This is a creative way to attract and encourage vaccinations. More information can be found on the museum's website.

With the temporary loss of the one-dose Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine while under further review by the FDA, more doses of the Pfizer vaccine are currently being made available. The NYITCOM Academic Health Care Centers expect to gain access to these vaccines and will keep the New York Tech community informed when they become available.

In regards to coronavirus variants, B 1.1.7 (the U.K. Variant) continues to be the predominant variant nationwide and still represents as much as 60 percent of the coronavirus variants in some states, such as Tennessee.

To address this predominant variant, there is another vaccine now seeking approval called NVX-CoV2373. Maryland-based biotech company Novavax has developed this protein-based coronavirus vaccine, which is given in two doses. In early clinical trials, the vaccine produced very high levels of antibodies. The company has announced an efficacy rate of 96 percent against the original coronavirus, 86 percent against the B.1.1.7 variant, and 49 percent against the B.1.351 (South Africa) variant.

As we continue to improve our collective national COVID-19 immunity, we must continue to stay the course with our community mitigation activities (i.e., wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and remaining at home if ill or symptomatic) to bring the transmission down to negligible levels.

As always, the New York Tech community is welcome to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test at the Academic Health Care Center in Long Island by calling 516.686.1300. Those who may continue to feel anxious or uneasy, may reach out to Counseling and Wellness Services at our campuses in Long Island (516.686.7683) or New York City (212.261.1773) to talk or make a virtual appointment.


Brian L. Harper, M.D., M.P.H.
Chief Medical Officer, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine
Vice President, Equity and Inclusion

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