NYC vaccinations low in black communities

Barbara Goldberg
·2-min read

Black New Yorkers' skepticism about rapidly-developed COVID-19 vaccines means they lag behind other racial groups in inoculations to fight the pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans, officials say.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday the state has planned an advertising campaign seeking to boost trust and dispel hesitancy among black New Yorkers to get the potentially life-saving vaccine.

New York City, once the epicenter of the US pandemic, will expand outreach to 33 communities hardest hit by the often-deadly disease, many extremely skeptical, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters.

While blacks made up 24 per cent of New York City's population, according to 2019 data, they have so far sought and received only 11 per cent of coronavirus vaccinations, he said.

By comparison, whites made up 32 per cent of the city's population, yet received 48 per cent of vaccinations.

"Why? We've got a profound problem of distrust and hesitancy" in black communities, de Blasio said.

A similar pattern is seen among hospital workers in the state, who were the first to be offered the vaccines, according to Cuomo.

Blacks are 17 per cent of hospital staff in New York, yet only 10 per cent of those who agreed to hospital vaccinations, the governor said.

In comparison, Asians are 11 per cent of hospital staff and accounted for 16 per cent of the workers who agreed to hospital vaccinations.

"It's the clearest demonstration of hesitancy," Cuomo said.

So far, a total of 1.919 million doses of vaccine have been administered statewide, including more than 800,000 in New York City alone.

While another 7 million New Yorkers are waiting for the vaccine now, Cuomo said, the state receives only 300,000 doses each week.

Herd immunity against COVID-19 may require vaccination rates of at least 70 per cent, Dr Anthony Fauci, the most prominent US infectious disease expert, says.