Nearly 365 days have been passed since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the NBA and infected Tom Hanks. Thankfully, researchers are hopeful that the worst of the pandemic has passed. However, it does not appear that the vaccine that will help slow the spread of coronavirus is being administered properly. A recent report from Kaiser Health News has found that Black Americans are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at a slower rate than white Americans.
Kaiser Health News has found that Black Americans are receiving COVID-19 vaccines at a disproportionately lower rate than white Americans. In Pennsylvania, 1.2% of white residents have received the vaccine, but only 0.3% of Black residents have received the vaccine. In Mississippi, 18% of those who have been vaccinated are Black. However, the state's population is 38% Black.
“My concern now is if we don’t vaccinate the population that’s highest-risk, we’re going to see even more disproportional deaths in Black and brown communities,” Fola May of UCLA told Kaiser Health News.
“It breaks my heart.”
Black Americans not being able to access the vaccine becomes a larger issue considering Black communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to test positive for the virus than white Americans and Black Americans are 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized due to the virus than white Americans. Furthermore, Black Americans are 2.8 times more likely to die from the virus than white Americans.
"The clear evidence of increased risk of infection among ethnic minority groups is of urgent public health importance," Dr. Shirley Sze told BBC.
"We must work to minimize exposure to the virus in these at-risk groups by facilitating their timely access to healthcare resources and target the social and structural disparities that contribute to health inequalities."
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