NYC’s Rich Neighborhoods Get an Outsize Share of Covid Vaccines

New York City’s vaccines are disproportionately going to wealthier neighborhoods in Manhattan and Staten Island, according to data the city released Tuesday.

The disparities highlight the inequities of a vaccine drive that has already been criticized for what New York Mayor Bill de Blasio called “profound” racial disparities.

White residents composed almost half the people who had gotten at least one dose, despite being only a third of the population. More than a quarter of those getting the Covid-19 vaccine are nonresidents, who tend to be younger and are more likely to be White than those living in the city.

“We have a lot of work to do,” de Blasio said. “A lot of this is about underlying painful disparities and inequalities to begin with. Folks who have more privilege are best able to navigate this process. Folks who have more confidence in the vaccine are going to go through more effort to get it.”

While 7% of of adult residents across Manhattan are fully vaccinated, only 3% of Brooklyn residents are, city data shows. The second-most-vaccinated borough is Staten Island, where 9% of adult residents are partially vaccinated and 6% have had both shots.

“Just as we’ve seen a much smaller portion of vaccines going to Black and brown New Yorkers, we see these geographic disparities bearing out as well,” said Torian Easterling, chief equity officer of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “Staten Island and Manhattan have the highest vaccination rates, while the South Bronx, parts of central Queens and central Brooklyn lag behind.”

Equitable Effort

New York City has been prioritizing health-care workers, the elderly and essential workers for immunization. Officials have pledged to carry out the country’s most equitable vaccine rollout, and said Tuesday that the data provided a guide on how to that.

De Blasio said that 77% of the city’s vaccination sites are in 33 hard-hit neighborhoods. “We definitely want to go a lot deeper,” he said.

He said supply shortages and vaccine hesitancy also play a part. “Folks who have been doing very well in this society also have a high level of confidence in the vaccine,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said the city will be creating new vaccine centers in Brooklyn’s Brownsville and East New York sections, where only about 3% of residents have received first doses.

Wealthy sections in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx show a different picture: More than a quarter of adults on City Island have received first doses, while 13% of adults in Riverdale have. More than 10% of adults in parts of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and Upper West Side have been vaccinated, compared with about 6% in parts of Washington Heights and 3% in Harlem.

New York City recorded the highest number of vaccine doses administered last week since the inoculation drive began in December, doling out more than 317,000 shots, de Blasio said Tuesday.

The city still has a long way to go to cover its more than 8 million residents. New York had administered nearly 1.3 million total vaccine doses as of Sunday, including 870,6000 first doses.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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