What’s Driving Inequitable Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution?
A myriad of systematic and social factors fueled the lack of vaccines in Black and Latino communities
Covid-19 vaccines emerged as a medical breakthrough, but like many other innovations, they have been disproportionately helping white Americans as compared to other racial and ethnic groups.
As of February 2021, a stark Covid-19 vaccine disparity remains. In Delaware, Black people account for 24% of statewide Covid-19 cases, yet only 9% have received the vaccine. Similarly in Colorado, Hispanic people account for 36% of Covid-19 cases, but only 6% have been vaccinated.
“I’ve heard from [Black and Latino] patients that they want the vaccine, but there is a supply issue and that will continue to be an issue over the next few months.”
There has been a lot of discussion about vaccine hesitancy in Black and Latino communities rooted in a history of medical racism in those communities. However, vaccine skepticism is not the main factor fueling these massive disparities in vaccination.
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“Even some of those who want to get the vaccine in disadvantaged communities have not been able to do so,” explains Ryan Neal, MD, Division Head of Hospital Medicine at Houston Methodist in Texas. “I’ve heard from [Black and Latino] patients that they want the vaccine, but there is a supply issue and that will continue to be an issue over the next few months.”
A myriad of systematic and social factors, rooted in racial and socioeconomic inequities, has led to the lack of vaccines in the communities that need them the most.
Improper handling of vaccine distribution
“I think the states and local municipalities were dealt a really bad hand and tried to distribute vaccines initially without appropriate funding or…