The majority black and Hispanic communities in the East New York and Brownsville neighborhoods of New York City were among those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and people here have also struggled to get access to lifesaving vaccines. These trends are emblematic of broader racial and economic disparities in access to health care in the United States. The legacy of systemic racism has also affected people's perceptions about the vaccines.
In this video, Rev. David K. Brawley, lead pastor of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York, shares his journey to getting vaccinated against COVID-19. “I think I shared a lot of the concerns that many have had relative to the vaccination," Brawley said on the day he received his first shot of the vaccine. "I'm not certain about the vaccine, how it would affect our people, the history that our people have had in this nation relative to vaccinations. I shared some of those same concerns, but I'm glad I did this today.”
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) worked with BMS Family Health & Wellness Centers in Brownsville from February-April 2021 to expand access to COVID-19 vaccinations. BMS continues to provide free vaccinations in several locations in Brownsville and East New York.