Vaccine distribution is not keeping up with the impact of COVID-19 on Black and other communities of color. Ongoing disparities in vaccine distribution show the need for targeted efforts to provide coverage to impacted groups.
States are expanding eligibility in vaccine rollout but vaccination rates for Black people lag in comparison to the white counterparts. A new analysis from Kaiser Health News showed that in states that provide race and ethnicity data, white people have a vaccination rate that is two to three times that of their Black counterparts. It’s even higher in Pennsylvania at four times the rate.
One of President Joe Biden’s priorities in the first week of his administration was establishing the COVID-19 Equity Task Force. Co-chaired by Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the task force is looking at how to prioritize hard-hit communities in vaccine distribution.
During a CNN town hall, Nunez-Smith challenged people to look beyond naming that racial disparities exist, and digging deeper into the root causes. Nunez-Smith said that equity and accessibility were key priorities built into the Biden Administration’s national plan.
Even as Biden proposes to invest in federally supported vaccination centers in high-risk neighborhoods and other systems to aid in vaccine distribution ensuring equity in distribution is a challenge. Recent reports from the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City and Dallas County, Texas show that people are traveling into communities of color and lower-income communities to be vaccinated.
While the chaotic rollout and failed federal response are partly to blame, pandemic disinformation may also play a role in people’s reluctance in getting vaccinated. The hesitance and concern around the vaccine point to the need for clear verifiable information and public health outreach to address historic issues.
Another area of concern, particularly when it comes to equity, is vaccine effectiveness. With Johnson & Johnson releasing results showing its one-dose vaccine is less effective than the two doses from either Moderna or Pfizer, the difference in vaccine effectiveness and who gets which vaccine needs to be monitored. This becomes particularly important as folks rush to scale up vaccination and see the Johnson & Johnson version as a less expensive, easier alternative.
Ease of distribution and effectiveness need to be balanced alongside equity concerns to make sure that hardest-hit communities are receiving their fair share of life-saving medicines.
During its trial, the Johnson & Johnson vaccination was 66% effective in preventing a person from developing COVID-19 symptoms, and 85% effective in preventing severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations were found to be 95% effective in preventing symptoms and nearly 100% effective in preventing severe infections after two doses.
As reported by ABC News, the Food and Drug Administration has stated it would accept a vaccination that is more than 50% effective.
Notable Black Folks Who Have Contracted The Coronavirus
1. Usain Bolt, Olympic gold medalist1 of 59
2. Gil Bailey, radio pioneer2 of 59
3. Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta mayorSource:Getty 3 of 59
4. Herman Cain, former presidential candidateSource:Getty 4 of 59
5. Nick Cannon, entertainerSource:Getty 5 of 59
6. Ben Carson, former HUD SecretarySource:Getty 6 of 59
7. Dave Chappelle, comedianSource:Getty 7 of 59
8. Rep. Bonnie Watson ColemanSource:Getty 8 of 59
9. Manu Dibango, musicianSource:Getty 9 of 59
10. Dennis Dickson, NYPD employee10 of 59
11. Kevin Durant, NBA starSource:Getty 11 of 59
12. Larry Edgeworth12 of 59
13. Kenneth "Babyface" EdmondsSource:Getty 13 of 59
14. Idris and Sabrina Dhowre Elba14 of 59
15. Patrick Ewing, basketball legendSource:Getty 15 of 59
16. Ronald Fenty, Rihanna's dadSource:Getty 16 of 59
17. Vivica A. Fox, actressSource:Getty 17 of 59
18. Jimmy Glenn, legendary boxing trainerSource:Getty 18 of 59
19. Rudy Gobert19 of 59
20. Louis Gossett Jr., actor, philanthropistSource:Getty 20 of 59
21. Lee Green, former college hoops star21 of 59
22. Charles Gregory, Tyler Perry's makeup artrist22 of 59
23. Lewis Hamilton, Formula One driverSource:Getty 23 of 59
24. Samuel Hargress Jr., owner of legendary Harlem nightclub24 of 59
25. Conan Harris, Rep. Ayanna Pressley's husbandSource:Getty 25 of 59
26. Antoine Hodge, opera singerSource:GoFundMe 26 of 59
27. Mike Huckaby, techno music pioneer and DJ27 of 59
28. Callum Hudson-OdoiSource:Getty 28 of 59
29. DL Hughley, comedian29 of 59
30. Ahmed Ismail Hussein, Somali singer30 of 59
31. Wilson Roosevelt Jerman, former White House butler31 of 59
32. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, actor32 of 59
33. Brad "Scarface" JordanSource:Getty 33 of 59
34. DeAndre Jordan, NBA starSource:Getty 34 of 59
35. Tim Lester, NFL starSource:Getty 35 of 59
36. James Mahoney, pulmonologist36 of 59
37. Ellis Marsalis Jr., musicianSource:Getty 37 of 59
38. DeRay McKesson, activistSource:Getty 38 of 59
39. Von Miller, NFL starSource:Getty 39 of 59
40. Donovan Mitchell40 of 59
41. Wisconsin Rep. Rep. Gwen MooreSource:Getty 41 of 59
42. Lloyd Porter, small business owner in Brooklyn42 of 59
43. Charley Pride, country music legendSource:Getty 43 of 59
44. Biden Adviser, Rep. Cedric RichmondSource:Getty 44 of 59
45. Arnie Robinson Jr., Olympian45 of 59
46. Wallace RoneySource:Getty 46 of 59
47. Marcus Smart47 of 59
48. Shaka Smart, University Of Texas Men's Basketball CoachSource:Getty 48 of 59
49. Troy Sneed, gospel singerSource:Getty 49 of 59
50. Oliver "DJ Black N Mild" Stokes Jr.50 of 59
51. Michael Strahan, 'Good Morning America' host, former NFL starSource:Getty 51 of 59
52. Carole Sutton, actressSource:Getty 52 of 59
53. Jeffrey "DJ Jazzy Jeff" Townes53 of 59
54. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers head coachSource:Getty 54 of 59
55. Karl-Anthony Towns, NBA starSource:Getty 55 of 59
56. Jo Thompson, singerSource:Getty 56 of 59
57. Karl-Anthony Towns' parents, Jacqueline Cruz and Karl-Anthony Towns Sr.57 of 59
58. Juan Williams, Fox News HostSource:Getty 58 of 59
59. Randall Woodfin, Mayor of Birmingham, AlabamaSource:Getty 59 of 59
Racial Disparities In Vaccine Distribution Demand Equity In Priorities was originally published on newsone.com