Demographic data released by the city on Sunday reinforced concerns that the vaccine rollout effort has not done enough to reach the city’s communities of color ― Black and Latino New Yorkers in particular.

Adi Talwar

A person getting vaccinated at the South Bronx Educational Campus Vaccine Hubs located on St Ann’s Avenue.

New York City released vaccination demographic data on Sunday, reinforcing concerns that the vaccine rollout effort has not done enough to reach the city’s communities of color ― Black and Latino New Yorkers in particular. The data also reveal that vaccination disparities by race are even more stark among non-NYC residents who’ve gotten vaccinated in the city, who account for more than a quarter of those inoculated here so far and are largely white.

Throughout the pandemic, Black and Latino New Yorkers have faced disproportionate levels of illness, death, and economic strife, and the newly released city data bolsters worries that vaccination sites in communities of color (such as the one at Washington Heights Armory) are not yet doing enough to serve them.

The city’s data show that 48 percent of people who live in and were vaccinated in New York City so far were white, 15 percent were Asian, 15 percent were Latino and 11 percent were Black. Of those who reside outside the city but got vaccinated here ― accounting for 28 percent of all adults who’ve received both doses ― 59 percent were white, 12 percent were Asian, 10 percent were Latino and 6 percent were Black.

The disparities in the data drew condemnation from some local leaders. City Council member Mark Levine, who chairs the Council’s Health Committee, wrote on Twitter that the stats reveal a “picture of profound inequality.”

“We need dramatic action NOW to fix this,” he said.

The breakdown of NYC residents by race/ethnicity who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine so far (Data source: NYC DOH)

The breakdown of non-city residents by race/ethnicity who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine in NYC so far (Data source: NYC DOH)

The information released Sunday also demonstrates the need for better vaccine data collection: the city does not have race/ethnicity demographic data for 40 percent of those who received their first vaccine dose, or 267,887 people. Although there are always some who decline to provide demographic information, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi called for more consistency around data collection among providers giving out the vaccine. 

Chokshi said Monday that the city sent out a health alert to clinicians “making very explicit what our obligations are with respect to reporting on race and ethnicity as part of our immunization efforts.”

The city’s data also revealed that 25 percent of people who received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine live outside of New York City, and 28 percent of those who received both doses live outside of the city. 

At a briefing on Monday, de Blasio noted that while the city’s vaccine rollout should include people who live outside the five boroughs and serve the city ― as healthcare workers or teachers, for example ― that shouldn’t apply to those who do not work here.

“This is where we need to work with the state on the solution,” he said. “Each of our suburban areas has gotten their own allotment and we really want to make sure that people who live in the suburbs to the maximum extent possible, live in other states to the maximum extent possible, get their vaccines where they live.”

He added that about 29,000 doses in the city’s allotment have been given to people who live in New Jersey and Connecticut, saying it’s “absolutely a fair and smart priority” for those who are public servants in the city, but he expects that some “are just individuals who came in because they had an opportunity to get a dose.”

So far, of the people the city has vaccinated with at least one dose for which demographic data is known, 214,420 were 65 years old or up. City Limits reported previously on how the limited vaccine supply has hindered its distribution to seniors, and has also limited the city’s flexibility for addressing inequity. 

Mayor de Blasio reiterated on Monday that the city would be able to take more action right away to address disparities if it weren’t for the limited availability of doses. 

“If we get a bigger supply, I think that’s the single biggest difference maker, because what that means is in communities all over the city, people start to know more and more people in their life who have gotten vaccinated,” he said. “That’s going to be the biggest impact, that word of mouth.”

Indeed, a recent poll of New York City residents aged 18 and older showed that 42 percent expressed hesitancy toward taking the vaccine. Yet, within the group that expressed hesitancy, 10 percent said they’d only take the vaccine after someone they know got vaccinated, while 14 percent said they’d only get vaccinated after many people they know receive the vaccine. 

In the meantime, de Blasio says the city will work on getting the supply it does have “to the grassroots” or “the sites that people really know in their community” and to focus on better communication with New Yorkers in different languages. 

So far, the city has not released data for who has gotten vaccinated broken down by neighborhood or borough.

On Sunday, he also announced that vaccine sites in 33 neighborhoods, identified by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, will now prioritize appointments for residents, designating specific hours and slots. A list of those neighborhoods is below. 

Task Force NeighborhoodsBoroughZIP Codes
Lower East Side and ChinatownManhattan10002, 10003, 10009, 10013
Morningside Heights and Hamilton HeightsManhattan10025, 10027 10031, 10032
Central HarlemManhattan10026, 10027, 10030, 10037 10039
East HarlemManhattan10029, 10035
Washington Heights and InwoodManhattan10032, 10033, 10034, 10040
Mott Haven and MelroseBronx10451, 10454, 10455, 10456
Hunts Point and LongwoodBronx10455, 10459, 10474
Morrisania and CrotonaBronx10456, 10459, 10460
Highbridge and ConcourseBronx10452
Fordham and University HeightsBronx10453, 10458
Belmont and East TremontBronx10457, 10458
KingsbridgeBronx10463, 10468
Parkchester and SoundviewBronx10472, 10473
Williamsbridge and Baychester, EdenwaldBronx10466, 10467, 10468
Bedford StuyvesantBrooklyn11205, 11206, 11216, 11221, 11233, 11238
BushwickBrooklyn11206, 11207, 11221, 11237
East New York and Starrett CityBrooklyn11207 11208, 11239
Sunset ParkBrooklyn11220, 11232
Coney IslandBrooklyn11224, 11235
Flatbush and MidwoodBrooklyn11226
BrownsvilleBrooklyn11212, 11233
East FlatbushBrooklyn11203, 11226
Flatlands and CanarsieBrooklyn11236
Queensbridge and AstoriaQueens11101
Jackson HeightsQueens11368, 11369
Elmhurst and CoronaQueens11368
Briarwood, Flushing SouthQueens11435
Kew Gardens and WoodhavenQueens11419, 11421
Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, South Ozone ParkQueens11419, 11420
Jamaica and HollisQueens11412, 11423, 11432, 11433, 11434, 11435, 11436
Queens VillageQueens11429
Rockaway and Broad ChannelQueens11691, 11692, 11693, 11694
St. George, Stapleton, Port RichmondStaten Island10301, 10303, 10304, 10310
Neighborhoods, identified by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity, where vaccine appointments will be prioritized for local residents.

Nicole Javorsky is a Report for America corps member.