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Vaccine Buses Are Helping Black and Brown Communities Get Vaccinated

October 1, 2021

The initiative began in April, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to increase vaccinations in the “hardest-to-reach” populations across the city. Six months later, there is still progress to be made in Harlem, where the average fully vaccinated rate is 10% behind the city’s 61% average.
“That gap highlights the remaining levels of vaccine hesitancy both in my district and around New York City,” says Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), who represents Harlem. “In order to overcome the pandemic, we need to understand why individuals are hesitant and more fully engage with them.”

The mobile vaccination initiative was created to improve that access, traveling to neighborhoods with disproportionate cases of COVID-19 and histories of socioeconomic disparity identified by the city’s Task Force for Racial Inclusion and Equity. “Mobile vaccination clinics are one of the many ways New York City has met our residents where they are,” Espaillat says, “and the success of this program can’t be understated.”

“It’s no secret that our most underserved communities, particularly our lower-income communities and communities of color, have been systemically ostracized — especially with regard to public health policy,” Espaillat says. “It’s incumbent on us to reconcile with this past to rebuild trust and build back from this pandemic.”