NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Despite dwindling city supplies, officials have launched a program to vaccinate seniors living in Bronx public housing as a new poll finds there is still substantial reluctance in minority communities that needs to be overcome.

The Bronx River Houses was the first stop for a mobile vaccination unit that hopes to reach 15,000 NYCHA seniors over the next eight weeks, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday.

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“I’m happy that I got it. Don’t be afraid. Come and get it,” resident Justa Hernandez said.

“No, it didn’t hurt. Just a little pinch,” Sal Irizarry added.

“Thanks be to God. I worried I would get COVID,” Angel Morocho said. “If the vaccine is available, I recommend to everybody to do that, to take care. It’s very important for everybody to save a life.”


Organizers of the Bronx Rising initiative say “amen” to that.

“A lot of our seniors don’t have Internet or don’t know how to use a computer, so we’re going knocking on doors and asking if seniors want to get vaccinated and bringing them down,” founder Tomas Ramos said.

“This area is one of the hardest hit for COVID-19,” chief nursing officer Josie Miranda said. “We’re talking about a lot of elderly people.”

A new poll by the Association for a Better New York found there is still hesitancy among some residents to get the shot.

In all, 57% of New Yorkers say they will take the vaccine as soon as it is available to them, while 42% are hesitant.

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The poll also found 69% of people say they have enough information to make an informed decision about the vaccine, and 40% are concerned about potential side effects.


But among minority communities, there’s more concern. The survey found that 20% of African-Americans and 19% of Asian and Pacific Islanders say they’re unsure if they will get a shot. That’s compared to 10% of white New Yorkers.

Another 81% say they could be persuaded if it’s required for work, travel or school.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted the city has the ability to vaccinate 500,000 people a week, except for one thing.

“This was absolute fact that unfortunately ran into the buzzsaw of lack of supply and lack of flexibility of how we use the supply we have,” de Blasio said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s preparing to lift some restrictions on Wednesday, but it won’t affect indoor dining in New York City.

CBS2’s Marcia Kramer contributed to this report

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Marcia Kramer