The role racial disparities play in reaching — or not reaching — mass vaccination goals

Gabrielle Masson - Print  | 

COVID-19 vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic people will likely lag even if and when national goals are met, which could lead to widening health disparities and limit pandemic recovery, according to new research from Stanford (Calif.) University and the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

Researchers used state-reported vaccination data to project vaccine coverage among people 12 and older for white, Black, Hispanic and Asian racial/ethnic groups. They estimated coverage rates through Sept. 1 based on the average daily vaccination rate implied by the change in coverage between May 24 and June 7. For more on methodology, click here.

The findings focus on vaccinations among those ages 12 and older. 

Four key report findings:

1. At the current pace of vaccination, 65 percent of Americans older than 12 would be at least partially vaccinated by July 4, but rates would be lower for Hispanic and Black Americans. Based on current trends, Asian people are the only group estimated to exceed a 70 percent vaccination rate by July 4, while white people (66 percent) and Hispanic people (63 percent) will be shy of reaching this level, and only about half (51 percent) of Black people will have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

2. If the current pace continues, Hispanic people nationally would reach a 70 percent threshold by July 27 and white people would reach the threshold by Aug. 2, but Black people still wouldn't have reached this level by the beginning of September.  

3. Progress toward achieving a 70 percent vaccination rate among those ages 12 and older by July 4, and disparities across groups, would vary significantly across states. 

4. These disparities may further widen the disproportionate effect COVID-19 has had on people of color, and health disparities in general. 

The findings underscore the importance of continuing to prioritize vaccine equity and focused efforts to deliver vaccinations to underserved people, as well as maintaining these efforts even after broader national goals are achieved.

 

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