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NYC Neighborhoods Hit Hardest by COVID-19 Have Lower Vaccination Rates

New Yorkers receive COVID-19 vaccines at New York State Vaccination Site at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem (Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Office via Flickr)

Feb. 17, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Some of the neighborhoods that were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City have the lowest vaccination rates for the virus, new ZIP code data shows.

Queens neighborhoods like Corona — once called the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the pandemic — and Far Rockaway — where one out of every 11 people was diagnosed with COVID-19 — have particularly low vaccination rates compared to the rest of the city.

Just 3 percent of adults in Corona (11368) and 4 percent of adults in Far Rockaway (11691) have had  the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the health data released Tuesday.

Corona’s rate is at half of Queens’ overall vaccination rate — 6 percent of adults in Queens have had the first dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

The largely Hispanic immigrant community saw the greatest number of deaths and the most cases of COVID-19 in May.

Far Rockaway, a predominantly Black community, had the third highest death rate in the city in May. According to city data, 410 Far Rockaway residents have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have died at roughly twice the rate of white New Yorkers and the death rate increases as income level decreases across the boroughs, according to the city.

However, more white New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the potentially life-saving vaccine. According to city data, 43 percent of New Yorkers who received the first shot are white, while just 11 percent are Black and 16 percent are Latino.

The disparity in deaths as well as vaccination rates is best illustrated when comparing one end of the Rockaway Peninsula to the other.

On the end opposite Far Rockaway, Breezy Point (11697) — a predominantly white and affluent neighborhood where eight people have died of the coronavirus — has had 27 percent of its adult population partially vaccinated.

The median household income in Breezy Point is more than double the median household income in Far Rockaway, according to census data.

The Rockaways had no city-run coronavirus testing site until roughly three months into the pandemic.

Then-Council Member Donovan Richards said the delay cost lives.

Now, as Queens Borough President, Richards is repeating his warning.

Numbers don’t lie — the City’s own data shows communities of color in Queens and across NYC are being vaccinated at remarkably lower rates than other areas,” Richards wrote on Twitter. “But this distribution disparity isn’t just incredibly frustrating, it’s potentially fatal.”

Other areas of Southeast Queens where many Black residents live, also have low vaccination rates. Only 3 percent of adults in Springfield Gardens/ Rochdale Village/ St. Albans (11434), South Jamaica (11436), Laurelton (11413), Rosedale (11422) have gotten their first shot.

“A lot of this is about underlying painful disparities to begin with and inequalities to begin with,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing Tuesday. “Folks who have more privilege are best able to navigate [the vaccination] process.”

Geography
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