Has the state’s vaccination program reached people of color and marginalized communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19?
In at least one place the answer is yes – thanks to the work of a news reporter who shed light on a specific problem.
The story, in a nutshell: Velasquez was covering a vaccination site in Manhattan’s Washington Heights. An elderly (=much older than me) woman arrived early for the second day in a row seeking a vaccine or at least help getting an appointment; a computer was not an option. The people stationed to administer vaccines in this Spanish-speaking neighborhood could speak her language. And the vaccines were going to savvy suburbanites, not the intended local recipients. But Velasquez is multi-lingual and tenacious. She helped the woman and wrote a story that sparked a revision of the vaccination staffing and setup in Washington Heights.
Sounds so simple, so obvious.
Yet it took a local news reporter well-suited for the community she was covering to spark the change. Hats off to Velasquez and The City, the almost 2-year-old non-profit digital news platform that focuses on accountability reporting for residents of the five boroughs (and beyond).