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Low vaccination rates may be linked to Hofstra, LIU Post student population

Hofstra University said nearly 2,400 students were vaccinated

Hofstra University said nearly 2,400 students were vaccinated on campus in April and May. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

The Long Island ZIP codes that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo singled out as among those with the state’s lowest vaccination rates includes student housing at Hofstra University and LIU Post.

Cuomo on Monday said Hempstead’s 11549 ZIP code and 11548, which includes LIU Post, are in the bottom 10% of vaccination rates in the state.

The 11549 ZIP code includes student housing at Hofstra and has a vaccination rate of 27% of adults and children who have received at least one dose, according to state data. Statewide, 58% of all residents are at least partially vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers.

Students dominate ZIP code 11549: More than 99% of residents are ages 15 to 24, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

The 11548 ZIP code, with a 34.6% vaccination rate, includes many single-family homes in Greenvale, in addition to LIU Post. But in a sign of the large student population, the Census Bureau lists more than 40% of residents as ages 15 to 24 — compared with 12.9% for all of Nassau County.

Young people are much less likely to get vaccinated than older adults. Statewide, only 49.7% of residents 16 to 25 have received at least one vaccine dose, compared with 87.7% of those 65 to 74, according to state data as of Wednesday morning.

Hofstra won't know what percentage of students are vaccinated until Aug. 1, when students are required to provide proof of vaccination to attend fall classes, said Jean Peden Christodoulou, Hofstra’s associate vice president for student affairs.

Nearly 2,400 students were vaccinated on campus in April and May, but some preferred to wait until they return to their parents' homes, and some who live off campus wanted to get vaccinated "closer to where they live," Christodoulou said.

In addition, many students have two addresses: their address when they’re attending classes at Hofstra and their parents’ address, she said.

"In those cases, students could have reported their home address when they filled out their vaccination paperwork," Christodoulou said. "It’s not necessarily a one-to-one match. We know this happened on our campus, but they could have reported it as California."

LIU Post Chief Administrative Officer Joseph Schaefer said in a statement Wednesday night that LIU students also "most likely used their permanent ZIP code." About half of students said in a late April survey that they had been fully vaccinated, he said.

One ZIP code has what appears to be the lowest vaccination rate in the state: 11794, which includes Stony Brook University housing. Its population is 95.9% ages 15 to 24, according to Census estimates.

State data released by Suffolk County shows that 200 people were vaccinated in that ZIP code, for a vaccination rate of 6.6%

Asked why 11794 wasn't included in the list of low-vaccination ZIP codes, the state health department said in an email that "we dropped any counties under 500 people," apparently referring to how the governor’s presentation excluded ZIP codes with fewer than 500 residents. But the Census Bureau lists the population as 3,024.

Postal ZIP codes recorded on vaccination forms typically are the same as the Census Bureau’s "ZIP code tabulation areas," but boundaries sometimes differ, according to the Census Bureau. That appears to be the case with ZIP code 11794.

Stony Brook University, which is requiring all students to get vaccinated before attending classes in the fall, said in an email Wednesday that 77% of students reported in a recent survey they are vaccinated.

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