Among Black New Yorkers, only 48 percent of those between 18 and 44 have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with roughly 60 percent of those 45 and older, according to city data.
“Gen Z and millennials have a different relationship to the institutional Black church,” said Nichole R. Phillips, the director of the Black Church Studies program at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. “If you have a generation that isn’t as present in the pews, that will impact the use of the church as a place of public health education.”
Dr. Easterling said city health officials know outreach efforts at churches will primarily engage “an older population,” but he said those efforts to address vaccine hesitancy could have a subsequent effect on the young.
“We know particularly in Black churches, we have seen it is primarily older generations that have really focused on going to church in person,” he said. “We also do see parents in their 40s or 50s, as well, and they play an important role because they talk to their adolescents and their children. They share information.”
More than one million people in New York City have contracted Covid-19 and over 34,000 have died from it since the city’s first confirmed case on Feb. 29, 2020, according to city data.
The State of Vaccine Mandates in the U.S.
- Vaccine rules. On Aug. 23, the F.D.A. granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and up, paving the way for mandates in both the public and private sectors. Such mandates are legally allowed and have been upheld in court challenges.
- College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.
- Schools. California became the first state to issue a vaccine mandate for all educators and to announce plans to add the Covid-19 vaccine as a requirement to attend school, which could start as early as next fall. Los Angeles already has a vaccine mandate for public school students 12 and older that begins Nov. 21. New York City’s mandate for teachers and staff, which went into effect Oct. 4 after delays due to legal challenges, appears to have prompted thousands of last-minute shots.
- Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and major health systems are requiring employees to get vaccinated. Mandates for health care workers in California and New York State appear to have compelled thousands of holdouts to receive shots.
- Indoor activities. New York City requires workers and customers to show proof of at least one dose of the Covid-19 for indoor dining, gyms, entertainment and performances. Starting Nov. 4, Los Angeles will require most people to provide proof of full vaccination to enter a range of indoor businesses, including restaurants, gyms, museums, movie theaters and salons, in one of the nation’s strictest vaccine rules.
- At the federal level. On Sept. 9, President Biden announced a vaccine mandate for the vast majority of federal workers. This mandate will apply to employees of the executive branch, including the White House and all federal agencies and members of the armed services.
- In the private sector. Mr. Biden has mandated that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing, helping propel new corporate vaccination policies. Some companies, like United Airlines and Tyson Foods, had mandates in place before Mr. Biden’s announcement.
That includes 175,751 Black New Yorkers who contracted the coronavirus by October, or roughly 9 percent of the city’s Black population, compared with 245,536 white New Yorkers, or roughly 7 percent of the city’s white population. According to city data, 31,108 Black New Yorkers had been hospitalized because of Covid-19 and 14,820 have died of it as of this month.
The coronavirus has taken a steep toll in neighborhoods like Hunts Point, which is home to the Word of Life International Church, a Pentecostal congregation that Pastor Udo-Okon started 21 years ago in his living room.