More than 80 percent of Nassau County adults have received at least their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. That’s excellent. Overall, about 68 percent of Nassau residents who are eligible for the vaccine — that is, anyone over age 12 — are now fully vaccinated. That’s good, but not great.
Not great because that leaves 30 percent — a sizable number — who are yet to complete their vaccination regimens. And here’s the thing: Not all communities are equal in the race to vaccinate as many people as humanly possible.
The vaccination rate is just above 50 percent in Cedarhurst, Elmont, Freeport, Inwood, Lawrence, Mill Neck, Old Westbury and Uniondale. In other communities, it actually falls below 50 percent. In the 11549 ZIP code of Hempstead, it’s 26 percent; Greenvale, 35 percent; and Roosevelt, 48 percent.
In any number of other communities, the rate hovers in the 60 percent range.
Compare that with the rate in the 11020 ZIP code of Great Neck, where it’s 80 percent; Jericho, 78 percent; Plainview, 78 percent; the 11040 ZIP code of New Hyde Park, 75 percent; Mineola, 74 percent; Port Washington, 74 percent; Williston Park, 74 percent; Merrick, 73 percent; and Syosset, 73 percent.
It becomes clear, based on these statistics, compiled by the federal and state governments, that there is a wide disparity in vaccination rates between many of the county’s more affluent communities and its low-income neighborhoods. County health officials must ask why people in working-class areas have fallen so far behind in being vaccinated. Do they not have the time to get their shots because they are working three jobs? Do they lack access to health-care facilities? Is transportation a problem? Is English a barrier?
In certain communities, Cedarhurst and Lawrence in particular, religious conviction may play a role, and Jewish spiritual leaders from throughout the Five Towns recently released a video, which is at times serious and others humorous, encouraging their congregants to get vaccinated. We applaud that effort.
Such targeted campaigns are clearly needed in any number of neighborhoods throughout the county. The race to achieve herd immunity — when 75 to 80 percent of all county residents have been vaccinated — will be won one community at a time.