Communities concerned over low vaccination rate in some NYC neighborhoods

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Doctors and community leaders are expressing concern after a 7 On Your Side Investigation found more than a dozen local communities have less than a third of the population vaccinated.

"We are very concerned," said Dr. Edward Telzak, the Chair of the Department of Medicine at St. Barnabas in the Bronx.

"We are particularly concerned for our communities in the zip codes around our hospital that are among those that have the lowest vaccination rates," said Dr. Telzak.

It's a growing concern with the new Delta variant of the virus spreading in the United States. Doctors say it can be more contagious and more deadly.

The lowest vaccinated communities include zip codes in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Search the zip codes here:

"I want local governments to pay attention to these zip codes, get in there go door to door, go to churches go to social events go to community events," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The state announced Thursday afternoon it's sending more mobile pop-up vaccination units into the communities that need them the most.
7 On Your Side Investigates found there are a handful of vaccination centers open in Far Rockaway, the zip code with the lowest rate in the area, to vaccinate people seven days a week. But the new council member who represents the area said that wasn't always the case.

"I've been extremely concerned about the lack of access to the vaccine from the very beginning," said councilmember Slevena Brooks-Powers.

There's only one hospital on the entire peninsula. When COVID-19 first hit the area, it overwhelmed the hospital with patients and deaths. Even so, Councilmember Brooks-Powers said people did not have quick access to COVID testing or vaccinations. She said it was weeks behind other places in Manhattan.

"It came very late to our community and I think this is another clear example of why it's so important for government to really be distributing resources in a more equitable way," said Brooks-Powers.

She's pushing for more mobile and pop-up vaccine sites, more community partnerships, and more marketing in the areas that need vaccine education.

"It's going to take persistence and just constant effort on the grassroots," said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday. "The referral bonus program says to houses of worship, to NYCHA residents, to community-based organizations, go and literally find individuals who want to get vaccinated and we will reward your organization for it."

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