Aug. 9, 2021 -- The racial disparity in COVID-19 vaccinations seems to be narrowing as compared with earlier this year.
Public health experts say the most recent data shows promise, especially as coronavirus cases increase due to the Delta variant and more communities promote grassroots campaigns to get people vaccinated.
During the past two weeks, people of color have been vaccinated with a first dose more than white people when compared to demographic percentages in the overall population, according to the latest CDC data. Race and ethnicity information is available for about 60% of people who have been vaccinated, the CDC reported.
Hispanic and Latino people make up 17% of the population in the U.S. and accounted for more than 25% of those who have received their first vaccine dose in the past two weeks. Black people, who make up 12% of the U.S. population, accounted for 15% of those who received a first shot in the past two weeks.
At the same time, fewer white people were represented in vaccine numbers. White people make up 61% of the country’s population and accounted for 44% of those who received an initial vaccine dose during the past two weeks.
“What those patterns suggest is that there’s a narrowing of racial gaps in vaccinations at the national level,” Samantha Artiga, vice president and director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Racial Equity and Health Policy program, told USA Today.
“That narrowing may continue as the total number of vaccinations provided has increased in recent weeks,” she said.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, white people were more likely than Black and Hispanic people to get a shot earlier this year. The gap in numbers has been slowly closing in recent months, USA Today reported.
Community-level groups have focused recently on local partnerships, mobile clinics, and vaccination events to overcome barriers, reach underserved groups, and meet with essential workers who haven’t been able to take off time from work to get a shot.
“What we advocated for early in our work is that vaccination campaigns really take a geographic focus,” Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, an epidemiologist and co-founder of the Center for Vulnerable Populations at the University of California at San Francisco, told USA Today.
“That they really focus on where the virus has been to really engage very locally with community organizations, with community leaders,” she said.