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February 3rd, 2021

Andrew Yang Calls for Increased Access to COVID Vaccine in Top 10% Hardest Hit NYC Zip Codes

**RELEASE** February 3rd, 2021

New York, NYToday, Democratic Candidate for Mayor of NYC, Andrew Yang, called on the City of New York to expand eligibility for the vaccine to include all people 40 years of age and older, beginning with those who live in the top 10% zip codes hit hardest by COVID-19 and aggressively expanding over time as supply allows. Yang also called for increased access to the vaccine in these areas through local outreach, easily accessible distribution and on-site registration.

Yang’s proposal comes following the latest release of data from the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which showed that Black and Hispanic New Yorkers make up just 26% of the City’s vaccinated residents despite accounting for 53% of the population. Communities of color have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to an alarming degree, vividly demonstrated by the statistics released this spring showing Black and Brown New Yorkers dying at twice the rate of their white counterparts. The rollout of the vaccine has been no different. The communities most in need of the vaccine have the fewest residents immunized. The City must adjust guidelines and protocols to ensure a more equitable distribution of the vaccine.

“Black and Latino communities are being vaccinated at a lower rate than their white counterparts despite having been hit hardest by the pandemic. Communities of color have fewer hospitals with a worse patient to nurse ratio which increases the chance of death, said Andrew Yang. “When nearly a quarter of New York City’s vaccine supply is going to non-City residents, the system is broken. When 48% New Yorkers who are getting the vaccine are white, while just 26% are Black or Hispanic, the system is broken. The simple fact is, our vaccine operation has been woefully inadequate -- this latest data just shows how poorly. Vaccination distribution is the key not only to protecting millions of lives, but also to reopening our economy. Countless sites sit empty while New Yorkers who are eligible to get vaccinated sit at home because the appointment system is scattered and ineffective.”

Data shows Queens is the borough with the most COVID-19 cases and the fewest hospital beds per capita. There are 5 hospital beds per 1,000 residents in Manhattan while only 1.8 per 1,000 in Queens. Nurses should care for no more than four patients at once, but at the height of the crisis in the spring, the emergency room nurse to patient ratio hit 23 to 1 at Queens Hospital Center and 15 to 1 at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, both public hospitals, and 20 to 1 at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center. Communities that are more susceptible to the virus and have fewer intensive care resources need to be prioritized for vaccination eligibility.

 “I was outraged to see that on Saturday, a vaccination site that was outfitted to deliver over 600 shots, vaccinated less than 50 people because patients had not been given appointments. DOHMH needs to be more agile when the system is failing this badly and lives are on the line,” continued Yang. “The City needs to establish updated standards of eligibility for our most vulnerable communities. Anyone over the age of 40 who lives in the top 10% of hardest hit zip codes should be eligible to receive the vaccine immediately. The City must invest in hyper-local outreach and ensure there are vaccination sites within walking distance of the most at risk communities in schools, community centers, and mobile sites. We need onsite registration and vaccination slots reserved for same day access to community members.”

Last week, Andrew Yang released his plan for Racial Equity in Healthcare Delivery. To read more about his plan for Effective, Equitable Vaccine Distribution, click here.


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