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The Virus Slammed Her Neighborhood. She Can’t Find Her Father a Vaccine.

Logistical hurdles, fear and misinformation are threatening to leave some of the city’s immigrant communities behind as the vaccine rollout ramps up.

By Annie Correal

Flora Pérez, a produce vendor in Queens, has been trying for weeks to get a vaccine appointment for her 82-year-old father.

“It’s really, really hard — none are available,” Ms. Pérez, 58, said as she wrapped tomatillos in plastic bags at her stand in the Corona neighborhood. She does not have time to spend hours online or calling the state’s hotline, she said, so she and her siblings have been taking turns.

“I’m waiting and waiting,” she said.

Corona, where Ms. Pérez and her father live, is one of the New York City neighborhoods that have been most devastated by the pandemic. Now it is among the places where the fewest residents have received vaccines. In one ZIP code in Corona, fewer than 5 percent of the predominantly poor and working-class immigrant population had received at least one dose as of Sunday, data shows — among the very lowest rates in the city. In one wealthy ZIP code on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, that number reached 28 percent.

Percent of adult population that

has received at least one shot

Data as of Feb. 21

BRONX

No data

10%

15%

20%

28%

Upper East Side

10075

5%

Corona

11368

QUEENS

ManHattan

Brooklyn

STATEN

ISLAND

Percent of adult population that

has received at least one shot

Data as of Feb. 21

10%

20%

15%

BRONX

No data

28%

Upper East Side

10075

5%

Corona

11368

QUEENS

ManHattan

Brooklyn

STATEN

ISLAND

Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

By The New York Times

Around the country, the vaccine rollout has reflected the same troubling inequalities as the pandemic’s death toll, leaving Black, Latino and poorer people at a disadvantage. In New York City, home to more than three million immigrants from all over the world, data released last week suggests that vaccination rates in immigrant enclaves scattered across the five boroughs are among the city’s lowest.

This month, The New York Times visited interviewed 115 people living in predominantly immigrant neighborhoods about the rollout and their attitudes toward the vaccine.

Only eight people said they had received a dose. The interviews revealed language and technology roadblocks; some believed there were no vaccine sites nearby. Others described mistrust in government officials and the health care system. Many expressed fears about vaccine safety fomented by news reports and social media.

The broader public might find it difficult to understand why people in communities ravaged by the coronavirus would be reluctant to line up for the vaccine, said Marcella J. Tillett, vice president of programs and partnerships at the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

“This is where there has been a lot of illness and death,” said Ms. Tillett, whose foundation is distributing funds to community-led organizations for vaccine education and outreach. “The idea that people are just going to step out and trust a system that has harmed them is nonsensical.”

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