West New York pleads for COVID-19 vaccines

Less than three percent of residents reported vaccinated

West New York administered the first doses of the vaccine to first responders on Dec. 28.
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West New York administered the first doses of the vaccine to first responders on Dec. 28.

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez and the Board of Commissioners are issuing a call for help to organizations and companies that can collaborate with the town to supply COVID-19 vaccines.

“On March 8, 2020, the Town of West New York was the first municipality to have a positive case in the County of Hudson,” Rodriguez said. “Since then, we have worked diligently with the community to weather the impact of this devastating pandemic. At this juncture, as is the case around the world, we are desperately trying to secure a consistent supply of vaccinations to inoculate all our residents. While amounts to this region have increased, allocations toward our community have not. West New York deserves better, and I will not rest until all residents are vaccinated.”

Deaths versus doses

As of March 1, 2021, the COVID-19 death rate for the town was higher than that of the state: 35.82 deaths per 10,000 residents in WNY versus 22.87 for the state.

The town estimates that about 2.2 to 2.7 percent of its population has been vaccinated. It began distributing the Moderna vaccine to eligible residents in late December. This data does not account for individuals who may have been vaccinated at a state mega-site or other entity.

According to the town, the figure “by any metric is unacceptable, especially against the backdrop of the aforementioned rate.”

Located in the most densely populated area in the nation, the town is home to an estimated 60,000 residents in one square mile. It’s working to accelerate vaccine distribution to achieve herd immunity.

According to WNY officials, a large portion of the the town’s eligible population, including those over 65 and those with serious health issues, have indicated that they want the vaccine. While the town applauded Gov. Murphy’s addition of more people to the eligibility list, the limited quantities supplied to WNY have been inadequate.

“While local and national outlets portray an image of distrust with the vaccine as a substantiating reason why underserved Americans are disproportionately under vaccinated, our pre-registration efforts highlight the opposite,” Rodriguez said.

“As a matter of fact, there has been an overwhelming response to our pre-registration for the vaccine. We are ready to vaccinate our community, and our community is ready to be vaccinated, but we need vaccines now.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.