Despite NY milestone, some neighborhoods still mostly unvaccinated

The state of New York launched fireworks Tuesday night in celebration of New Yorkers reaching a 70% vaccinate rate, but for many communities, the celebration came too early.

There are about a dozen communities in the New York City area where three out of four people have not been vaccinated yet.

Investigators created a map where the darkest colored zip codes have the most vaccinated New Yorkers and the lightest, the least.

The communities with the lowest vaccination rates include Canarsie and Borough Park in Brooklyn, but the zip code with the lowest vaccination rate in the entire area is Far Rockaway, Queens. Only 27% of people in the community have been vaccinated.

“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,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Investigators found there are a handful of vaccination centers open in Far Rockaway to vaccinate people seven days a week, but the new councilmember who represents the area said that wasn’t always the case.

“I’ve been extremely concerned about the lack of access to the vaccine form the very beginning,” councilmember Selvena Brooks-Powers said.

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,” Brooks-Powers said.

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

“It’s going to take persistence and just constant effort on the grass roots,” 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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