New York City booster shot data shows major racial disparities

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Much like the rest of the United States, New York City has struggled to convince certain groups of residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. But new data released by the city on Wednesday shows wide disparities among those in the city who receive a third dose.

Although millions of Americans flocked to get fully vaccinated, the number of people receiving a booster was insufficient. New York City now has the data to illustrate this: while 77% of all city residents have received either the single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson or two doses of mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, only about 36% had received a booster shot as of Friday.

Looking at adults 18 and older, only 43% had received a reminder. The rate was even lower for eligible children, aged 13 to 17: 21%.

The figures also highlighted new inequalities by neighborhood and race. Nearly half of Manhattan had been boosted, compared to just over a quarter of the Bronx.

And more than half of the city’s Asian and Native American residents had been boosted, while less than a quarter of black residents had been.

The percentage of residents who received reminders by district is:

The share of residents who received reminders by race are:

  • Asian and Pacific Islander: 57%

  • Native American: 55%

  • White: 37%

  • Hispanic/Latino: 26%

  • Black: 24%

Booster shots have been shown to be 90% effective in preventing hospitalization of the extremely dominant Omicron variant, which is highly contagious and has been driving up case rates across the country this winter.

On Friday, Mark Levine, the Borough President of Manhattan, called on Twitter for the city to do more to shut down the disproportionate fares to protect its most at-risk residents.

“This makes us vulnerable to a future surge,” Levine wrote. “We have to focus on that.”

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