Latest official data has underscored troubling disparities in New York City’s vaccination effort, with the share of residents who are fully vaccinated in some wealthier Upper West and East Side ZIP codes, which have high proportions of white residents, reaching up to eight times the rate in parts of predominantly Black neighbourhoods like East New York.
“The figures for individual ZIP codes provided one of the most granular pictures of the city’s vaccination effort to date. And it added more evidence suggesting that across the country, the vaccine appears to be flowing disproportionately toward areas with wealthy and white residents, even though low-income communities of colour remain the hardest hit by the coronavirus,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
In one ZIP code in Lenox Hill on the city’s Upper East Side, for example, the city found that 16 percent of adults had received both doses of vaccine. The median household income in the Upper East Side and some surrounding neighbourhoods is about $120,868, according to recent census data — roughly double the citywide figure, Xinhua news agency reported.
By contrast, in two ZIP codes around East New York, only 2 per cent of adults have received both vaccine doses. The median household income in and around East New York is about $38,000, according to census data.
Broadly, ZIP codes in boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island showed higher vaccination rates than those in the South Bronx, central Queens or central Brooklyn, according to Torian Easterling, deputy commissioner and chief equity officer for the city’s health department.
“The ZIP code data not only provides a map of where New Yorkers are being vaccinated, but also a road map to our Covid response,” said Easterling while quoting the data released by the city government late Tuesday.
Asked whether the city knew whether some ZIP codes with high vaccination rates also had high concentrations of residents in the earliest eligible categories, like doctors and nurses, police officers and nursing-home residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city did not “have the level of data that would be ideal.”
“Gathering the right data has also been a problem nationally, as federal officials have struggled to keep track of the race and ethnicity of people being vaccinated, despite the emphasis (US) President (Joe) Biden has given to racial equity in his coronavirus response,” reported the Times.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the coronavirus deaths added up to 28,428 and the confirmed cases 665,263 in NYC, according to The City, a project that tracks the spread of confirmed Covid-19 infections and fatalities in New York City, based on information provided by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the governor’s office, The Covid Tracking Project and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.