About half of New York City residents aren’t sold yet on getting the COVID-19 vaccine — complicating efforts to finally tame the killer bug, according to a survey disclosed Friday.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. David Chokshi revealed details of the online poll during a City Council hearing on vaccine distribution — and acknowledged persuading Big Apple residents to get the COVID-19 shots poses a big challenge.
The unpublished Health Department survey, conducted from Oct. 3 through Oct. 14, found that only slightly more than half — 52.6 percent of city respondents — would get the vaccine.
Twenty percent of Gotham residents said they would not take the vaccine and 27 percent were not sure.
More White New Yorkers said they would get vaccinated compared to black, Hispanic and Asian New Yorkers, the survey found.
The Health Department did not provide a racial or ethnic breakdown of the findings on Friday.
The vaccine skepticism among city residents is in line with national polls.
City health officials are conducting more surveys to gauge changes in public sentiment as it prepares to distribute the COVID-19 prevention vaccine.
“We need New Yorkers to trust us,” said Chokshi, who testified that everyday New Yorkers won’t likely be eligible to get the vaccines until mid-2021.
“Some communities — especially the black community — that trust will be hard won because of decades of systemic racism,” the health commissioner said.
He alluded to the historic medical mistreatment of blacks and some Council members invoked the infamous Tuskegee experiments performed on black men and forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women, both dark moments in US medical history.
Meanwhile there are anti-vaxxers who raise religious objections to the shots.
Last year, authorities shut down yeshivas in Brooklyn and Queens for failing to comply with requirements that students get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers subsequently approved a law eliminating the religious exemptions for vaccination mandates.
Council members said persuading skeptics to take the vaccine is potentially a serious obstacle.
“We have a lot of work to do. There are reports of medical staffers who don’t want to get vaccinated. If health care workers refuse, that will influence the general public,” said Council Health Committee Mark Levine (D-Manhattan).
“The goal is to have a 75 to 80 percent vaccination rate to be effective. We can’t afford to have large swaths of the city refusing vaccination.”
The joint hearing was conducted by the Council health and public hospital committees.