Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • Keeping Kids, Families, and Communities Safe as Children are Back to School

    Getting vaxxed (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Back-to-school is traditionally an exciting time for parents, teachers, and educators. With New York City returning to school this month after COVID-19 kept children isolated from classmates and, in many instances, interrupted routine medical visits, experts fear the population will have lower immunity and be behind on routine vaccines.

    The city continues to work its way out of the pandemic and encourage "back-to-school checkups." Let's ensure the whole family

  • Three Plagues, and Counting

    Vaccination (photo: Adam Schultz/Official White House)

    In the earliest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I wrote a column aboutLessons from Two Plagues. Even then, it was apparent that there were sad parallels between it and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. COVID-19 has killed...

  • What is New York City Doing to Boost Covid Vaccination Where Rates Remain Persistently Low?

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Getting vaccinated (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Uptake of COVID-19 vaccines remains persistently low in pockets of New York City two years into the pandemic, despite being shown to reduce the severity and spread of the virus that has killed nearly 40,000 New Yorkers.

    A city health department study in August found a vast majority of covid-related hospitalizations

  • Hey New York, Let’s Have a (Vaccine) Party

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    A vaccine block party in Rochester (photo: Rachel Barnhart)

    On a recent Saturday in Rochester, New York, dozens of people lined up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at a neighborhood festival. The event featured the opening of a new playground, free lunch from food trucks, and $100 gift cards for receiving a first dose of the vaccine. To celebrate the approval of child vaccines and of boosters, we can have national and state Block Party Weekends for children and their caregivers. These fun events can play a key role in reaching the one-third of

  • Covid Vaccination and the New York City Recovery

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    New York's recovery is happening (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    New York City was the epicenter of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as it began in the United States. It recorded its first death from the disease on March 1, 2020. The city’s economy also suffered a massive setback during the lockdown in the early months of the pandemic.

    A full job recovery is still several years away and the major problems that predated covid and persisted through it — poverty, homelessness, affordable housing, unemployment and under-employment — are

  • Adults Need to Grow Up If We Want to Keep Our Kids Safe

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    Back to school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    We’ve all seen the news lately. It’s rife with images of chaotic school board meetings and rallies starring adults engaged in tantrums, which we would never tolerate from our children. Every parent wants what they believe is best for their children. However, if we want them to get back to school safely, the adults in the metaphorical room need to stop fighting and adhere to public health guidelines.

    As health care professionals, our message is that children should safely

  • City Struggles to Boost Vaccinations in Far Rockaway, Where Rates Are Lowest

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    Elected officials and public health officials at the Beach 39th Street Vaccine Hub in Far Rockaway (photo: @JCCofRP)

    Despite pouring tens of millions of dollars into "credible messengers," targeted outreach, pop-up and in-home vaccination sites, and door-to-door canvassing, New York City health officials have struggled to boost covid vaccination in some historically underserved and overlooked neighborhoods. Among them is Far Rockaway, Queens, one of the places most severely impacted by the pandemic in terms of infection, death and economic

  • City Council Goes More Than 5 Months Without Oversight Hearing on Covid Vaccination Effort

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    City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Health Chair Mark Levine (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    After weeks of flagging covid vaccine rates, ongoing racial disparities among the vaccinated, and the troubling spread of the Delta variant, Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking his first steps to impose more coercive vaccine policies in New York City. The mayor announced on Monday an upcoming mandate for all city workers to be vaccinated or subject to weekly covid testing, while encouraging private sector actors to institute their own

  • City Should Quickly Expand Use of Schools as Vaccine Hubs — Welcoming Students, Parents, Staff and Anyone Else

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    Mayor de Blasio at a school offering vaccines (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that New York City would launch covid vaccination sites at select schools across the city for 12 to 17-year-olds. The program is to start at four schools in the Bronx on Friday, June 4, and move to additional locations in the five boroughs, trying to vaccinate large numbers of kids by the end of school this month. The mayor should be commended for this initiative, along with City Council Member Mark Levine, chair of

  • Why Didn't New York's Hardest Hit Communities Receive Covid Vaccine Priority?

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    The covid vaccine (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic devastated Black, Latino, and immigrant communities across New York City at disproportionate levels last spring and since. Some lawmakers are now asking why the same populations were not included in vaccine priority plans crafted by the state and city.

    At a January 12 City Council oversight hearing on the de Blasio administration's roll-out of the first batches of the covid vaccine, members of the Council’s committees on hospitals and health asked the city's top

  • De Blasio Excuses for Slow Vaccine Rollout Contradict Prior City Statements of Readiness

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    Mayor de Blasio vaccine promises (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Three weeks after New York City received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, and more than five weeks after officials knew when they were coming, only a third of the half-million doses had been dolled out, raising questions about why the city wasn't more prepared to step into "the light at the end of the tunnel."

    That has been a favorite phrase of Mayor Bill de Blasio since he signaled the city was on the verge of receiving the life-saving, pandemic-ending treatment over a month ago.

  • New York Must Not Exacerbate Disparities Again: Key Considerations for Equity in Covid Vaccination

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    Covid field site (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    There are many high-stakes questions to be sorted out in the design of the coming covid vaccination distribution program. But there’s one issue that’s not receiving enough attention: How can we design a plan that avoids exacerbating pre-existing racial inequities and instead meaningfully advances equity?

    It’s essential that we answer this question — now.

    Vaccine distribution will be the most complicated implementation challenge of this pandemic, even