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NEW YORK — As New York and the rest of the country continue their battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said many New Yorkers remain uncertain about receiving the vaccine, with only a small percentage of minority groups saying they would take the vaccine.

“Hesitancy is a major obstacle in our path,” the governor said during his Friday press briefing.

About 39% of New Yorkers are hesitant to take the vaccine as soon it becomes available to them, according to polling data.

Data reported about 78% of white New Yorkers are more likely to take the vaccine when available. However, only 39% of Black New Yorkers, 54% of Hispanic New Yorkers and 54% of Asian New Yorkers said the same.

The governor attributed driving concerns in Black and Hispanic communities to the effectiveness of the vaccine, side effects and distrust in the health care system.

“This is a real challenge, and I don’t believe in camouflaging a problem,” he said.

Cuomo released percentage data on those who received the vaccine by eligibility group and by race:

Phase 1A hospital workers:

  • 70% of eligible population are white, 63% of the people who took the vaccine are white
  • 17% of eligible population are Black, 10% of the recipients are Black
  • 8% of eligible population are Hispanic or Latino, 10% of vaccine recipients fell into this demographic.
  • 11% of eligible population are Asian, 16% of vaccine recipients are Asian.

Phase 1B essential worker population:

  • 75% of eligible population is white, 74% of vaccine recipients are white
  • 17% of eligible population is Black, 5% of vaccine recipients are Black
  • 14% of eligible population are Hispanic/Latino, 10% of vaccine recipients are Hispanic/Latino
  • 6% of eligible population are Asian, 7% of vaccine recipients are Asian

For 65+ population:

  • 77% of eligible population are white, 78% of vaccine recipients are white
  • 13% of eligible population are Black, 4% of vaccine recipients are Black
  • 12% of eligible population are Hispanic/Latino, 5% of vaccine recipients are Hispanic/Latino
  • 7% of eligible population are Asian, 8% of vaccine recipients are Asian

Cuomo acknowledged two challenges to reach the Black community, access and acceptance.

“The hesitancy must be directly addressed with facts and validation,” Cuomo said.

“Yes there are bonafide reasons for distrust in the system, but it’s not true with this vaccine.”

In an attempt to gain trust and more vaccine participation, the state is setting up mass vaccination sites in high-positivity areas within the Black and Latino communities.

In the Bronx, the state opened a vaccination megasite at Yankee Stadium Friday, providing 15,000 vaccine appointments within the first week.

In New York State, a total of 2,237,687 vaccination doses have been administered, with 1,742,509 first doses and 495,178 second doses given, according to the governor.

About 99.02% of allocated first dosages have been used, and the vaccine supply is currently distributed on a week-by-week basis.