Racial gap for COVID-19 vaccinations closing, data shows

Earlier in the pandemic, Black and Latinx Americans were less likely to get vaccinated than white Americans, but targeted messaging campaigns and a surge in COVID-19 deaths helped close the racial vaccine hesitancy gap, The New York Times reported Oct. 13.

Black, white and Latinx U.S. adults now share similar COVID-19 vaccination rates. Seventy percent of Black adults, 71 percent of white adults and 73 percent of Latinx adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to research the Kaiser Family Foundation released in late September. 

Some federal data signifies a larger racial gap, but the federal government's data collection practices often don't capture vaccine recipients' demographic information.

Earlier vaccine hesitancy among Black and Latinx communities was fueled by misinformation, vaccine inaccessibility in their communities and mistrust of the government and medical institutions. Experts told The New York Times the country's success in closing its racial vaccine hesitancy gap was due to grassroots efforts that relied on community members Black and Latinx people trust, as well as a surge in hospitalizations and death caused by the delta variant.

"It's less about saying, 'This racial ethnic group is more hesitant, more unwilling to get vaccinated,' and more about saying, 'You know, this group of people in this given area or this community doesn’t have the information or access they need to overcome their hesitancy,'" Nelson Dunlap, chief of staff for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, told The New York Times.


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