Black hospital workers in New York are less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine after being offered it compared to their White, Asian, and Latino co-workers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said.
Cuomo released racial demographic data of vaccination rates after roughly six weeks of vaccine distribution in New York. The results, Cuomo said, are reflective of public polling surrounding vaccines: Black people are more likely to be hesitant to take the shot.
New York will launch a series of public service announcements to encourage Black New Yorkers to be vaccinated, Cuomo said.
All hospital workers in New York have now been offered a vaccine dose. White people comprise 70% of hospital workers in the state, and they are 63% of the people who have taken the vaccine. Latinos comprise 8% of hospital workers; that group comprises 10% of the people who have taken the vaccine Asian hospital workers make up 11% of the workforce, and they comprise 16% of the people who have taken the vaccine.
But Black hospital workers comprise 17% of the workforce and make up only 10% of the overall vaccine recipients. About 12% of hospital workers declined to provide their race.
State officials have for weeks expressed concerns the history of medical experiments on Black people would fuel hesitancy.
"I think it's the clearest demonstration of hesitancy," Cuomo said of the numbers. "I understand, but it's something we have to overcome."
New York previously opened pop-up vaccine sites at churches. The PSA campaign is set to include testimonials about the safety of the vaccines.
"New York will launch an advertising campaign specifically targeting Black New Yorkers to build up the trust level and have validators speak about the trust level people have with this vaccine," Cuomo said.
Overall, 1.9 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state. Of those, 361,000 have been second doses, Cuomo said.
Hospitalizations have fallen statewide by 200 patients to 7,976 people, meanwhile, as a holiday season surge appears to be subsiding. The statewide positivity rate over the last seven days has fallen to 5.1%, Cuomo said.
The state confirmed 138 people have died in the last 24 hours.