Some recent, noticeably low vaccination rates for northeast Bronx have prompted Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Jamaal Bowman to recruit President Joe Biden into the borough’s battle against COVID-19.
The two local lawmakers penned a letter to Biden, citing some of those subpar statistics while too asking that “additional vaccines be urgently distributed” in the areas of Co-op City, Edenwald, and Wakefield.
“We are writing today to request that you provide additional vaccination resources for New York City to ensure that residents of color, elderly residents, and people with disabilities in my district can access these life-saving vaccines,” Schumer and Bowman wrote, stating that one of thirteen residents in those areas had contracted COVID-19, 411 of whom succumbed to the virus.
Their letter also specified the neighborhoods’ demographics being that 90 percent of residents are people of color and one in four are elderly.
“Only four percent of Wakefield residents and seven percent of Co-op City/Edenwald residents have received a vaccine, compared to thirteen percent statewide. Nationally, nearly two-thirds of vaccine recipients who reported their race have been white, and communities of color in areas like Co-op City, Edenwald and Wakefield are struggling to overcome the systemic barriers to vaccine access,” the letter stated.
Bowman and Schumer also pointed out the difficult, “transportation inequity” of cross-borough travel to the Yankee Stadium’s active vaccination hub that is only possible through a two hour trek by boarding two subway trains and a bus.
“Given the low incomes and high unemployment rates of residents in this region, many cannot afford to take the 20-minute taxi ride necessary to the Yankee Stadium vaccine site. In addition, 22 percent of residents in this area lack internet access, creating further difficulties as residents try to register for vaccines and research how to access them via public transit,” they wrote, adding that “while vaccination sites in Brooklyn and Queens provided shuttle bus services, this is not available at the sites in the Northern Bronx.”
The political duo concluded by requesting Biden to “urgently mobilize the necessary resources and work with the relevant New York City authorities to increase the number of vaccines available to residents in Co-op City and the surrounding Northern Bronx region.”
“Providing increased resources for vaccines in this area would be a key step toward overcoming the structural barriers to vaccine access as we work to ensure the most vulnerable, marginalized residents of New York State get vaccinated,” Schumer and Bowman stated.
The letter in its entirety can be viewed here.