Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams called for the city to release COVID-19 vaccine data in Long Island City on Sunday.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams stood in front of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Headquarters in Long Island City on Sunday and called for the racial and ethnic data of who received the COVID-19 vaccine in New York City to be released to the public.
Adams submitted a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) to review the data, which he said may show a “disproportionate toll” on communities of color.
“If we don’t know who is getting the vaccine, and if there are disparities in who is receiving them, we are at risk at deepening the inequities exposed by this pandemic,” Adams said.
He is calling on the city to immediately release the data to “give us a clearer picture of where our vaccination efforts stand.”
“New Yorkers deserve to know what the data picture looks like here in our city,” Adams said. “This has turned into some sick groundhog day where black, brown and elderly people are reliving this nightmare.”
He also talked about proposing a resolution in the City Council this week to implement a system of real-time reporting to track the racial and geographical breakdown of who has received the vaccine.
“We have yet to get this to date,” Adams said. “This is simple. We need to turn up the heat, because this virus is clearly turning up the deaths in our community.”
Councilmember I. Daneek Miller of District 27 in southeast Queens, who is also the co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, said that the city must “immediately adopt” Adams’ plan.
Miller also spoke more about vaccine disparities, highlighting how frontline workers from marginalized communities are still waiting to receive a vaccine, while “others who have the luxury of working from home in other professions have jumped the line.”
“When everyone else had retreated to the enclaves of privilege, those disenfranchised folks have been here to serve us, and now we must serve them,” Miller said.
Adams said that the disparities are not just a speculation, as a new survey from Kaiser Health showed that white people are being vaccinated at much higher rates than black and brown people across 16 states in the country.
“That is completely the opposite of the death rates of black and brown communities,” Adams said. “Something is wrong with this picture.”
He said that if the data comes back to show vaccine disparities for communities of color, the Department of Justice should pursue an investigation into what happened.
“Someone must examine what happened to black, brown and poor people in this city under Covid-19 and this country under COVID-19,” Adams said.
The FOIL request was filed with civil-rights attorney Norman Siegel. The law requires the agency to respond within five business days of a records request.
Until then, Adams said New Yorkers are “rightly concerned” about the botched vaccine rollout and deserve to know what has happened.
“The clock is ticking, the virus is growing, and black and brown people are dying,” Adams said. “It’s time for us to get this right. This is insulting to New Yorkers.”