Over the past seven days, Brownsville’s 11212 ZIP code has had the second steepest rise in COVID-19 case numbers in the city, reporting 7,619 positive cases.

Just over 53% of residents in the ZIP code are fully vaccinated, just below the Brooklyn average of 57%.

Citywide, 64.4% of eligible New Yorkers are fully vaccinated, according to City data.

Two Brooklyn ZIP codes are in the top five for the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases in New York City: Ocean Parkway and Midwood’s 11230 reported 11,340 cases and East New York’s 11208 reported 10,529.

The positivity rate in New York City dropped to 2.92% this week, as vaccine mandates for public school and health workers came into effect.

At least 98% of principals, 93% of teachers and 90% of non-education staff members had been vaccinated by October 1 in accordance with the Department of Education’s vaccine mandate, city officials said. The mandate took effect when the school day started and was the mayor’s first attempt at requiring vaccination without a test-out option for any city workers.

It was also the same day that health care workers were required to be vaccinated.

As of Oct. 1, Brooklyn hospital workers had the lowest vaccination rate of health care workers across the five boroughs at 79%, putting more than 20% of hospital employees in the borough at risk of termination due to the State’s vaccine mandate.

In August, the State implemented the vaccine mandate saying that it was following the science and guidance of federal and state health experts. However, vaccine uptake amongst health care workers lagged in the weeks before the deadline, leading Governor Kathy Hochul to make plans for staffing shortfalls, which included possibly deploying members of the National Guard.

Although that has not come to fruition, with vaccination rates increasing in the days leading up to the mandate’s implementation, hundreds of Brooklyn hospital staff remain at risk of termination.

A federal judge temporarily halted the vaccine mandate from going into effect for health care workers who say they have a religious exemption until Oct. 12.

This week, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the plan to expand the healthcare worker vaccine mandate to include employees who work in certain facilities offering health care to individuals served by the Office of Mental Health and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Under the new directive, staff who work in settings that treat some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers will be required to show proof of at least the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine series by November 1, without a test-out option.

Hochul said: “I have to speak clear-eyed and laser focused on the priorities that I must have as the governor of this state. And that is to protect people’s health. And we feel confident that this is the approach that has worked. Give people enough notice, they can be fully compliant, at the end of the day they will not go into a hospital or a nursing home in their most vulnerable state.”

In September, Hochul signed a new moratorium on COVID-related residential and commercial evictions for New York State which is in effect until January 15, 2022. Under the new law, all residential tenants who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the pandemic are protected by the Tenant Safe Harbor ActClick here to learn more about the updated moratorium.

Brownsville Multi-Service Health locations at 529 Rockaway Avenue, 259 Bristol Street, and 650 Ashford Street are offering walk-in vaccinations and appointments.

Once a patient receives their first dose, they will receive an email where they can pick an incentive, including a $100 gift card. More information can be found here. 

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer booster shots for people 65 and older or who live in long-term care facilities; adults who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 because of an underlying medical condition; and health care workers, first responders, teachers and day-care staff, grocery and food workers, postal and transit workers, people in manufacturing jobs and people who work in shelters or prisons. 

In order to be eligible for a booster shot, you must have received your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago.

Pfizer has also asked the FDA to authorize vaccine for children aged 5 to 11.

The FDA is currently deciding whether to authorize booster shot for adult recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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