On Sunday, the city broke down its COVID vaccination data by ethnicity, and the mayor says there is a "profound problem."
"We've got a profound problem of distrust and hesitancy particularly in communities of color," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "We've got a problem of privilege, clearly, where folks who have been privileged to have been able to access the testing, in some ways with greater ease."
According to the data, New York City residents who have received vaccines so far breaks down as the following: 48% white, 15% Asian, 15% Latino and 11% Black.
"Ensuring equity among our communities is central to our city's recovery efforts. We want all of our communities to trust the vaccine's efficacy and have access to it," First Lady Chirlane McCray said.
However, some 40% of recipients did not provide racial data.
The mayor received swift backlash from several city officials following the announcement.
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"Our leaders have continually failed vulnerable communities throughout this pandemic - first in minimizing infection, now in maximizing injection," New York Cit Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. "The demographic data on vaccine distribution that the city finally released today after long delays confirms what we feared and expected - that the people and communities of more color, disproportionately harmed by the pandemic, have been disproportionately hindered in equitable access to vaccination."
Andrew Yang, who recently announced his candidacy for mayor, also spoke out about the revelation.
"If anyone doubted the degree to which COVID-19 has not only proven, but exacerbated, the deep inequalities in our healthcare system, the latest data from DOHMH are a scathing indictment of how broken the system is.
To properly address the disparity, the mayor and the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity announced the next phase of its "Vaccine for All" effort.
The mayor is expanding priority zones from 27-33, and will look to broaden its outreach and education to address vaccine hesitancy, prioritize appointments, add new vaccine sites.
Some of the newly added zones are Williamsbridge, Baychester, Flatbush, Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Kew Gardens and Woodhaven.
In addition, the city will now be putting up the vaccine appointment application form in 10 languages. It was originally only in English and Spanish.
Governor Andrew Cuomo meanwhile says the state studied a controlled group made up of hospital workers, and that data too revealed the same issues.
"You have finding hesitancy among the Black community, higher than Latinos, higher than Asians, higher than whites," Cuomo said. "That's what we anticipated, that's why we are going to start an advertising campaign."
That plan however, will have to be put on hold for at least a day, as the mayor announced vaccine appointments will be rescheduled due to the impending snow storm.
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"Last thing we want to do is to urge our seniors to come out in the middle of a storm like this," de Blasio said at a Sunday morning press conference. "It doesn't make sense."
According to Sunday's data, the city's 7-day COVID positivity rate is 8.34% and there were 254 new COVID patients reported as well as 4,533 new cases.
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