Rep. Ritchie Torres: ‘Digital divide’ leading to low vaccination rates in the Bronx
Rep. Ritchie Torres says the cause of low vaccination rates in the Bronx is due to what he calls the “digital divide.”
On CBS’ "Face the Nation" Monday, Rep. Torres discussed how the lack of internet access in the Bronx is to blame for the lowest vaccination rates across the city.
"The racial disparities in vaccination rates for me is more a consequence of vaccine access than vaccine hesitancy. One of the greatest barriers to vaccine access is the digital divide,” said Rep. Torres.
He says there is a misconception that the lack of internet access is only a problem in rural towns.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced the transition from in-person learning in schools to remote learning, it was discovered that not every child has access to the internet.
"You can't just sit there and let their grades drop when they have a reason why their grades are dropping,” student Khalil Brown tells News 12.
According to the city’s Department of Health, 36% of New York City residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
The DOH says the Bronx trails at 31% compared to Manhattan’s 44%.
Rep. Torres hopes that more community centers will operate as vaccination sites to help increase the statistics, but that no internet access means less access to information about sites and no ability to participate in online registration systems.
Rep. Torres says he supports President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which is expected to shell out $100 billion in an effort to close the digital divide across the country.