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Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

"You really want to get it to the people who are really the most vulnerable ... you don't want to have a situation where people who really are in need of it, because of where they are, where they live, what their economic status is, that they don’t have access to the vaccine."
  • "You absolutely have to respect the hesitancy of the minority population. They keep coming back and saying the history of Tuskegee," Biden's chief medical officer said, referring to a situation in the 1930s in which the federal government denied Black men in Alabama treatment for syphilis and secretly documented how the disease destroyed their bodies over decades.
  • "They don't, can't and should not forget about it, because it happened and it was shameful."
  • Biden's chief medical adviser noted that health officials must convince people of color "that the safeguards that have been put in place since then ... would make it essentially impossible for a Tuskegee situation to arise again."

The big picture: 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, Axios' Caitlin Owens writes.

  • People of color are at a higher risk for contracting the coronavirus and also have higher COVID-related death rates than white people.
  • Communities of color also tend to have fewer pharmacies per capita, making it more difficult to get vaccinated, and they distrust the process due to past medical malpractice.
  • Immigrants who aren’t fluent in English face additional barriers to access.

Go deeper: Communities of color falling behind in America's vaccine effort

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Emhoff highlights food insecurity on first outing as second gentleman

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (right) speaks with volunteers of the nonprofit Dreaming out Loud at a farm in Northeast Washington on his first solo outing. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff used his first official outing as second gentleman Thursday to learn about and raise awareness for food insecurity, Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The farm that Emhoff visited at Washington, D.C.'s Kelly Miller Middle School has shifted its focus during the COVID-19 pandemic to help get food to people who are vulnerable to hunger. "Food security is a racial justice issue," said Christopher Bradshaw, executive director of Dreaming Out Loud, the nonprofit that runs the farm.