Sections of Queens, Hunts Point in the Bronx, and East New York and Brownsville in Brooklyn had among the lowest percent of residents who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to new data the city Health Department released on Tuesday. Manhattan had the highest rate of vaccination. The South Bronx, Central Brooklyn, and parts of Queens lagged behind.
Corona, Queens—once a part of the epicenter of the city’s coronavirus surge—had the lowest partial vaccination rate in the city at 2.7%. Just 1.9% of the neighborhood’s adult residents had been fully inoculated with two doses.
Areas predominantly populated by people of color—Hunts Point, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York, Cypress Hills, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans, Rosedale, and Laurelton—showed between 3.1% and 3.4% residents with at least one dose. Census data looking at demographics by ZIP code shows these neighborhoods are overwhelmingly filled with Black or Latino residents. A section of Midtown that’s predominately white reported similar vaccine coverage, but was an outlier relative to most white neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
City Island and Breezy Point rank the highest, with around one in four residents partially vaccinated, followed closely by the Queens combined communities of Bellerose and Douglaston-Little Neck. Around one in 10 people in the Upper East Side and Upper West Side had also received at least one shot.
Some of the ZIP code data revealed disparities the city has seen throughout the pandemic in which wealthier, white communities fare better than low-income neighborhoods of color. Last month, demographic data from the mayor’s office showed for every one Black or Latino New Yorker who was vaccinated, three white residents received a dose.
“A lot of this is about underlying painful disparities to begin with and inequalities to begin with,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters during a Tuesday press briefing announcing the statistics. “Folks who have more privilege are best able to navigate this process. Folks who have more confidence in the vaccine are going to go to more effort to get it.”
When accounting for income, those who make the most money in the city are receiving the most doses. For those in ZIP codes with a median household income of about $66,000, the full vaccination rate was 6.3%—nearly twice the rate of neighborhoods below that annual income, according to a Gothamist analysis. Dr. Torian Easterling, the city’s chief equity officer at the health department said the data would provide a “roadmap” to pinpoint how to continue to narrow the vaccine inequities.
Several Manhattan neighborhoods with income levels between $100,000 and $150,000 had full, two-dose vaccination rates of between 7.5% and 15%. Though the connection was not universal, multiple Bronx neighborhoods had 1.4% to 3.7% of adults fully vaccinated, where incomes were under $42,000.
There is no trend yet among the neighborhoods hit hardest or lightest in terms of death rate. But the full vaccination rate jumped from 4.9% to 6.3% between neighborhoods above and below the median death rate of about 101 per 100,000 people. The data does not untangle the percent of eligible residents compared to how many have been vaccinated.
De Blasio insisted the vaccine program was designed with NYC’s historic health disparities in mind, and with enough vaccine doses—he says about a half million a week—the disparities would be alleviated. But he also faulted vaccine hesitancy and distrust for exacerbating the gaps in who is getting vaccinated.
Vaccine sites have been set up in recent days in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium and Queens’ Citi Field to help neighborhood residents access the shot. “We need supply and we need time to win people’s trust and comfort with the vaccine,” de Blasio added.
Easterling said he hears concerns about a COVID-19 vaccine with regards to how quick the shots were developed and on the impacts on fertility, even though data shows the drugs are safe for everyone eligible.