Racial disparities already emerging in vaccinations
Black Americans are being vaccinated at far lower rates than white Americans in the states that collect such information, Kaiser Health News reports.
Why it matters: Communities of color are disproportionately vulnerable to the virus, and the vaccination trend so far is likely perpetuating these disparities.
Details: In the 16 states that have released vaccination data by race, white residents have been vaccinated at rates that are often two or three times higher than Black residents.
- The majority of the initial vaccine doses have gone to health care workers. But the share of health care workers who are Black exceeds — and often far exceeds — the share of vaccinated residents who are Black.
- "The unbalanced uptake among what might seem like a relatively easy-to-vaccinate workforce doesn't bode well for the rest of the country's dispersed population," KHN writes.
Between the lines: The gap in vaccination rates is largely due to access issues, misinformation, and mistrust of the health care system, which stems from historic racism.
- The slow national rollout of the vaccines has also led to calls for speed to be prioritized, which can come at the cost of equity.
What they're saying: "My concern now is if we don't vaccinate the population that's highest-risk, we're going to see even more disproportional deaths in Black and brown communities," Fola May, a UCLA physician and health equity researcher, told KHN. "It breaks my heart."