Millions of Americans have been given the COVID-19 vaccine after the FDA approved two in December. However, an analysis of available data shows Black, Hispanic and other ethnic groups are being vaccinated at lower levels than white Americans.
Based on data from 16 states that share the race/ethnicity of those getting vaccinated, the proportion of vaccinations among Black and Hispanic Americans is smaller in each state than the proportion of COVID-19 cases among Blacks and Hispanics, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and CNN.
“For example, in Mississippi, Black people account for 15% of vaccinations, compared to 38% of cases and 42% of deaths, and, in Delaware, 8% of vaccinations have been received by Black people, while they make up nearly a quarter of cases (24%) and deaths (23%),” according to the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of available data.
They said similar disparities exist for Hispanic Americans in the states providing data. Although there are smaller gaps between cases and vaccination rates for Asian Americans, the available data is “limited.” They have created charts to track the available data on vaccination rates among race and ethnic groups.
The CDC reports racial and ethnic disparities in the rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalizations and deaths. In a report earlier this month, their data showed Black and Hispanic Americans are dying of COVID-19 at a rate three times higher than white Americans, and are being hospitalized at a rate of four times higher.
Those looking at the early vaccination data are hopefully, however, that as the COVID-19 vaccines are rolled out to more of the population, the racial and ethnic gaps will become smaller.
The vaccine has only been available to health care workers and long-term care facilities, and is only now becoming available to those 65 or 70 and older, depending on the state, and some front line workers.
“Different patterns may emerge as the vaccines roll out more broadly,” the Kaiser Family Foundation reported, urging states to make equity the focus of their vaccine roll out campaigns.