Top lawmakers and Gracie Mansion hopefuls demanded that officials do more to expand coronavirus vaccine access in the Big Apple’s working-class and minority neighborhoods after The Post revealed that wealthy Manhattan neighborhoods are home to the lion’s share of injection sites.
The paper’s analysis revealed that there are 99 vaccination sites in Manhattan south of 110th Street — that’s eight more than in all of Brooklyn, which is home to 2.6 million people.
All told, Manhattan — population 1.6 million — has 125 private and publicly-run places where New Yorkers can score a jab, nearly double the 69 spots in The Bronx, which has nearly the same population.
“We absolutely need more vaccination sites in communities of color, in neighborhoods that have been hit brutally hard by the pandemic and that have been under-vaccinated in the last two months,” said Councilman Mark Levine (D-Manhattan), who chairs the City Council’s health committee.
Levine, a 2021 Manhattan borough president hopeful, said that one way to bolster access would be to include the independent mom-and-pop drug stores that are more common in working-class neighborhoods in the distribution effort.
There were only four such providers included on the list of 413 distribution points obtained by The Post.
“The reporting by The Post clearly shows that City Hall must do more to ensure that vaccines are distributed equitably at sites across the city,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera (D-Manhattan), who chairs the hospitals committee. “Findings like these show why it’s so important the administration finally discloses how much vaccine is going to each site.”
The paper’s examination of where New Yorkers can actually obtain the highly-sought COVID inoculation comes after city Health Department data revealed that shots are ending up in arms of white New Yorkers who live in wealthy neighborhoods more frequently than black or Latino New Yorkers, who outside of the Manhattan core.
A new analysis by news non-profit The City revealed Thursday that white New Yorkers are twice as likely as black New Yorkers to have gotten a shot so far.
City Hall pinned the gap on state and federal guidelines that put private chain pharmacies that are popular in upscale neighborhoods, like Duane Reade, at the forefront of the vaccination effort. And, officials pointed out that the city has opened nearly 50 sites — including at CitiField and Yankee Stadium — in a bid to improve outer-borough access.
“The city has led the way in putting vaccine sites in neighborhoods of color and will continue to do us,” said Press Secretary Bill Neidhardt.
But those seeking to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is term-limited, said it wasn’t enough and demanded City Hall redouble its efforts to improve vaccine distribution in black and Latino neighborhoods.
“From the very beginning of the vaccine rollout, we have been warning that this would happen — and now there’s proof,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a leading contender in the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary this June. “The City most immediately shift resources to cover the outer boroughs, communities of color and areas hit hard by the virus and report its progress in real-time.”
City Comptroller Scott Stringer, another top 2021 hopeful, called the vaccine rollout a “management and moral failure of the highest order.”
“We knew the vaccine was coming and we knew where the disparities were likely to be and yet the City did not do nearly to confront those disparities head on,” Stringer said.
De Blasio’s former crisis fixer and Sanitation Commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, blasted the disparities exposed by The Post as “unacceptable.”
“The rollout of the vaccine has been a failure and the disparities we’ve seen from this data confirms what we knew — the vaccine is not getting to all of our communities equally,” she said. “A well-organized, equitable vaccine distribution is imperative to New York’s recovery and the health and safety of New Yorkers. We need to do better.”