Story at a glance
- Data on the racial breakdown of Americans who have been vaccinated has been sparse.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a demographic analysis of vaccine distribution for its first month, which revealed just 5.4 percent of recipients were Black.
- The racial demographic of roughly half of vaccine recipients is unknown.
You can’t fight what you don’t know. Public health experts have been saying this since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and yet demographic data on how COVID-19 is affecting different racial populations has been difficult to collect at best.
BREAKING NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Black and Hispanic Americans were underrepresented in a new demographic analysis, released Monday, of vaccinated Americans from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the first month after two vaccines were authorized for emergency use in the United States, just 5.4 percent of recipients were Black and 11.5 percent were Hispanic, although they make up 13.4 and 16.7 percent of the population, respectively.
Black and Hispanic workers make up a sizable portion of healthcare workers in the U.S. and are more likely to become infected with COVID-19 than their white coworkers. Still, just less than two-thirds of vaccine recipients, amongst whom health care personnel were prioritized, were white, according to the CDC.
Perhaps most concerning, however, is that the analysis only represents 52 percent of vaccinated Americans and no racial data is available for the other half of more than 12 million recipients. Only 17 states are publicly reporting this data, and many health care workers are not even marking their race on surveys.
“More complete reporting of race and ethnicity data at the provider and jurisdictional levels is critical to ensure rapid detection of and response to potential disparities in Covid-19 vaccination,” researchers wrote.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW