However, community advocates say the achievement hides disparities that remain between groups that happen to fall under the same demographic umbrella.
Asian American, Native Hawaiian and additional Pacific Islander adults over the age of 18 come first citywide, with 69% reported to have received at least one shot in arm. The next-highest group is Native American and Alaska native, with 63% of city adults with at least one dose, according to city data.
That can create an illusion that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been able to easily access the vaccine, which isn’t always the case, according to advocates. The city’s registry also warns that demographic data should be interpreted with caution due to incomplete reporting.
Anita Gundanna, co-executive director of the NYC-based Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, says that a high vaccination rate belies the wide variety of experiences between groups and individuals, pointing toward the high rates of poverty, under-insurance rates, and unemployment for certain groups who fall under the Asian American umbrella.
The widening disparities have become particularly apparent for Asian Americans who speak less-widely spoken languages, meaning state and city vaccine information is not as commonly available, according to Gundanna.
“Whenever there is a void in accurate, language-accessible information, that void is filled by misinformation. Social media moves fast. Rumors can spread and word of mouth spreads fast,” Gundanna said.
Lack of nuanced information can also equal lack of funds. Advocates seek to remedy this by pushing state and city agencies to disaggregate data or break down massive identity blocs such as “Asian American/Pacific Islander” by nationality or ethnic group.
“We want to work in partnership with the state on data disaggregation and we’re ready to do that. And we’re hoping that the state will follow through with that commitment,” Gundanna said.
The city’s page for vaccination data includes multiple caveats, warning that “Vaccination information by race/ethnicity should be interpreted with caution due to the number of people with no reported race/ethnicity. Although CDC requires providers to record race/ethnicity information for COVID-19 vaccinations, it has not been required in the past and it is not consistently received in the vaccination record.”
Cuomo’s office did not respond to CNN’s questions regarding his veto of the bill and the state’s stance on data disaggregation.