Black Americans more likely to live in vaccine deserts, Pitt study finds

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In many parts of the U.S., Black people live farther away from a pharmacy or healthcare organization that administers COVID-19 vaccines than white people, according to research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and West Health Policy Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center in Washington, D.C.

Researchers found Black Americans were far more likely to live more than a mile away from the closest vaccination site in 69 counties, accounting for 26 million people. This trend was especially prevalent among counties in suh Southern states as Georgia and Alabama, and in urban areas. 

About three-fourths of counties with disparities in vaccine access also had high COVID-19 infection rates, averaging more than 50 new cases per 100,000 between November 2020 and January. 

The findings are based on Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and West Health Policy Center’s VaxMap, which measures vaccine site density and driving distance for residents in each county. The analysis included data on nearly 70,000 potential COVID-19 vaccine administration sites nationwide.

"Our maps identified areas of the country where temporary vaccination sites in locations like parking lots, stadiums and fair grounds will be needed to ensure all Americans have access to a vaccine," Sean Dickson, director of health policy at West Health Policy Center, said in a news release. "We hope that this analysis will equip the new administration and state and county governments with information about where greater support is needed."

 

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