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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several big cities have had to retool their vaccine distribution after wealthier, white residents poured into systems that were supposed to prioritize the lower-income communities of color hit hardest by the pandemic, The New York Times reports.

The big picture: People who have can take away from work, have the time to navigate reservation systems and busy phone lines, and who have reliable transportation have all had a leg up — even though those largely aren't the communities where the coronavirus is doing the most damage.

By the numbers: In Washington D.C., 40% of the nearly 7,000 appointments made available to people 65 and older were taken by residents of the wealthiest and whitest ward, where only 5% of the city's COVID deaths were located.

  • Partial vaccination data from other cities like Philadelphia and Miami, Fla., point to similar disparities, per the NYT.

What's next: Washington D.C. has changed its policy in prioritizing zip codes with the highest infection rates — which have tended to be Black and brown neighborhoods — and other cities are trying to do the same.

Go deeper

Biden administration will ship COVID vaccine directly to pharmacies

Coordinator of COVID-19 response and counselor to President Biden Jeff Zients. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

More than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to about 6,500 pharmacies across the U.S. beginning Feb. 11, the White House said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Local, national and supermarket pharmacies have an existing customer base, user portals and other established resources when it comes to mass flu and shingles immunization protocols. The federal government hopes this will expand access and speed up the vaccination process.

Feb 2, 2021 - Health

Vaccine chaos may undermine second doses

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some of the same problems that have plagued the coronavirus vaccine rollout could also make it harder for people to get the second dose of the vaccines.

Why it matters: The two vaccines authorized so far both require two shots to reach the full potential of their protection, and those second shots need to happen within a specific window of time —putting extra pressure on a system that’s already struggling to work out its kinks.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker