The Covid-19 pandemic has been defined by inequality. And there are alarming signs that–once again–New York City’s vaccination program is leaving communities of color behind.
We need to take action now to fix yet another egregious case of inequity in this pandemic.
I am fighting hard for the release of demographic data on vaccination in New York City.
It has been six weeks since vaccination began and the public has seen no data.
This is unacceptable.
But there is already overwhelming anecdotal evidence that African American, Latino, and Asian New Yorkers are significantly underrepresented among those getting vaccinated.
It is urgent that we act to address this inequity.
To close the vaccine equity gap, New York City must:
- Give residents of local zip codes scheduling priority for vaccination sites in communities of color (currently local residents are being crowded out by people coming from all over the state and region).
- Simplify the online scheduling process, so that there is a single, easy-to-use, multilingual website to schedule a vaccine appointment.
- Expand the capacity of the phone-based scheduling system, including an adequate number of multilingual customer services representatives.
- Expand eligibility to cover key excluded groups, such as food service employees, taxi drivers, and people who are incarcerated.
- Launch a major outreach campaign in communities of color that is run through trusted community-based organizations and elevate the voices of local leaders.
We have lost precious time in the fight for equity in vaccination in New York City. We need to act decisively now to correct this wrong.
To help our community better understand this issue, I will be hosting a live online Q&A on the equity challenges of vaccination with Dr. Uché Blackstock and Assemblymember Carmen De La Rosa this Tuesday at 5:00 pm. For more details and to RSVP visit HERE.
Back in December, Dr. Uché Blackstock and I warned of the dangers of a vaccine rollout that failed to advance equity for Black communities and other communities of color.
It now appears these fears are being realized stated council member Mark Levine.