In completely unsurprising and truly harrowing news, the Associated Press found a huge racial disparity in who is receiving the covid-19 vaccine. After examining 17 states (Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia) and two cities (Philadelphia, PA and Chicago, IL) the news organization determined that Black Americans are receiving inoculations well below their population percentage, while white people are disproportionately getting doses.
In Maryland, where Black people make up 30 percent of the population and 40 percent of the health care industry, they account for only 16 percent of total vaccinations—compare that to white people who have received 67 percent of the vaccinations, though they make up just 55 percent of the population. In North Carolina, where Black people make up 22 percent of the population and 26 percent of the health care industry, they account for only 11 percent of total vaccinations. (82 percent of those vaccinations went to white people.) Cities don’t fare better: In Philly, Black Americans make up 40 percent of the population and have received 14 percent of the vaccinations.
There are a few factors at play: covid-19 vaccine supplies are extremely limited, line-cutting abounds (yes, including all those conservative politicians who downplayed the virus but jumped at the chance to get the vax), and there’s inadequate access to the vaccine in Black neighborhoods. In some majority Black communities, no professionals had signed up to administer the vaccine, the AP reports, and a history of discriminatory treatment may dissuade Black people from being vaccinated early.
“I think there is such a collective trauma in Black people, even in Detroit, that many people don’t have nothing left,” Sameerah Singletary, a Black healthcare worker living in Detroit, told the AP. “They’ve been traumatized so much that they don’t care because the virus was just another layer on top. I feel like we have to participate in our healing.”
This news is especially devastating considering that Black and Latinx Americans have faced significantly higher rates of infection, hospitalization, and death as a result of coronavirus, including children: according to the CDC, three-quarters of the kids and young adults under the age of 21 who have passed away as a result of covid-19 were people of color.
Check out the report here.