Brooklyn Boro

BP Adams, Siegel file FOIL request for ethnic data on vaccine recipients

Concerned that Black New Yorkers may be falling behind

January 26, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Monday joined elected officials in front of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) headquarters in Queens, to announce that he is teaming up with well-known civil rights attorney Norman Siegel on a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request demanding that the city release racial and ethnic data on those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine to date.

Borough President Adams is seeking the release of the data collected to date to ensure the dosages of the vaccine are administered equitably. During a press briefing this morning, Mayor de Blasio committed to releasing data from the city later this week, including an ethnic and racial breakdown of vaccine recipients.

On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state had no more dosages of the vaccine left to administer after the first five weeks of shipments. Although New York is expected to receive 250,000 more doses next week, with 100,000 doses expected to arrive in New York City, the slow pace of vaccinations has raised concerns about how quickly the city and state will be able to reach herd immunity, according to Adams’ office.

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A recent survey by the Kaiser Health Foundation analyzed data compiled by 16 states — not including New York — and found that, to date, white Americans have been receiving the vaccine at higher rates than Black Americans, sometimes as much as two to three times higher.

As the city and state prepare for new shipments of the vaccine, Borough President Adams believes greater transparency around who is receiving the vaccine through real-time reporting mechanisms must be utilized to buck this nationwide trend.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer. For weeks, we have been calling on the city to release the data on who is being vaccinated, to determine if the vaccine is being distributed equitably. Now, a troubling — but predictable — pattern is developing in states that have released the data, showing that Black Americans are falling behind in vaccination rates,” he said.

“I’m proud to partner with Norman Siegel, a staunch advocate for justice and equality, in demanding the city show us the numbers. It is heartening to hear that Mayor de Blasio has committed to releasing this data as of this morning, but we should have been collecting and reporting it from the start of our vaccination efforts,” Adams continued.

Brooklyn Councilmember Robert E. Cornegy Jr. added, “We need to act with extreme urgency to ensure quick and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. It was clear in the spring that systemic racism and inaction meant a disproportionate rate of death among the Black and Brown communities. The disparities are back with a vengeance. Everyone needs to be safe right now, and that will require an intentional effort by the city, state and federal governments to help the communities with the fewest resources and greatest need.”

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