Mayor de Blasio and Dr. Katz Promise to Double Efforts to Counter Vaccine Misinformation in Jewish Communities
By Yehudit Garmaise
Are Boro Parkers considerably more hesitant to get vaccinated than other New Yorkers, or did the majority of the relatively young population of the neighborhood just become eligible for their shots?
Although the Forward reported last week that fewer than 11% of Boro Parkers had gotten both shots, compared with 22% of the rest of New Yorkers, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) found city data that shows that this week, “33% of adults in ZIP code 11219 have already received at least one dose of the vaccine according to the data updated through April 17th,” which is data that shows that the community is not vaccine-hesitant.
In fact, the low vaccination numbers last month in Boro Park were not due only to a flurry of misinformation, such as that vaccines can cause infertility, as hypothesized by the Forward, but that, according to census data, a staggering 75% of Boro Park’s population is under the age of 50: a population that just received eligibility on March 22.
Boro Park’s high vaccination rate, OJPAC said, “mirrors the 34% rate for Midwood, and exceeds the rates among the City’s African American and Latino communities, where the adult vaccination rate is at 25% and 29% respectively.”
Although, the Forward acknowledged that Boro Park “has more than twice the portion of children under age 5 as the citywide average,” one resident told BoroPark24, “Although the vaccine is a relatively safe method of protection with a small element of risk, there is a huge amount of disinformation.”
When BoroPark24 asked the mayor this morning whether he would consider providing more accurate vaccine information to Jewish communities, he said, “We have to do more to fight back misinformation.”
Previously, Dave A. Chokshi, MD, New York City’s health commissioner, told BoroPark24 on a conference call with reporters from the Jewish community, “As a doctor, I am recommending that people who are planning to start families get vaccinated because of the harms and risks of getting COVID-19 far outweigh any theoretical concerns around fertility.”
In fact, the Forward also reported that mRNA vaccines have been found to protect pregnant and lactating women and their newborns from the virus.
“We will double our efforts to counter the misinformation,” promised Mitch Katz, MD, the CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, who noted that rabbinic leaders “have been very responsible.
“In fact, they have censored some of their own members who suggested that vaccines were not a good idea because a basic tenet of Judaism is the protection of life and protection of your community.
“The vaccine does both of those things. The overwhelming view of rabbis is that [vaccines] are a very important intervention.”
Photo by: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
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