We Know that Vaccine Access Inequity Mirrors the Racial Health Divide of COVID-19, But Why?

Technological divide

Have you tried to sign up for a vaccine appointment? It’s not a simple process, and in most cases it requires reliable access and understanding of technology. This is a problem because half a million New York City households have no internet. And 61,000 New Yorkers live in homeless shelters — many of which lack computers and/or WiFi. Other populations — particularly seniors — lack the tech savviness to navigate the online-based appointment system. Language is a barrier too for a lot of immi $grant communities, particularly those who speak less common languages or dialects. When appointments get filled almost immediately, these issues are compounded, making it feel nearly impossible to get a spot.

Vaccine hesitancy

There’s a lot of conversation about vaccine hesitancy, and rightfully so. Communities of color have a fraught history with the medical system based on centuries of harmful medical practices and long-standing inequities in care. Take the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, for example, which was a 40-year long unethical medical experiment on Black men in Alabama. Or the California Eugenic Sterilization Program that disproportionately targeted — and sterilized — Latinx women.

Lack of time and resources

Through no fault of the frontline staffers who are working around the clock to get the vaccine into arms, sites are often plagued with long wait times. If a location runs out of doses, not everyone has the luxury of time — or subway fare — to travel to another site.

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Fighting poverty in New York City since 1988.

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