At least half the states in the United States of America will consider race to be a critical criterion in their Covid vaccine distribution strategy. According to a report on Daily Mail, all states have been advised to consider ethnic minorities as a vulnerable group by the Centers for Disease Control guidance (CDC).
According to the report, as many as 25 states have decided to focus on racial and ethnic minorities as a factor in deciding which groups have access to the Coronavirus vaccines first. Native Americans are being prioritized in New Mexico, California will ensure African Americans and Hispanics have greater access to vaccines and as per the report, “12 states specifically mentioning efforts to partner with healthcare providers in areas with a large minority population to reach ‘diverse populations’.”
Maine has a ‘Racial/Ethnic Minority COVID-19 Vaccination Plan’ in place to prioritize groups that ‘have experienced rates of disease that far exceed their representation in the population as a whole’. African Americans and Hispanics are three times more likely to die in the USA than whites.
Oregon has decided that ‘Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latinx, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities [will] have equitable access to vaccination’. Rachel Banks, the head of the public health department in the state, said that vaccination efforts would be ‘particularly focused on our communities of color who’ve seen unfair disproportionate impact from COVID-19’.
The CDC has maintained that race and ethnicity are ‘risk markers’ for underlying conditions that affect overall health outcomes. CDC director Robert Redfield said, ‘Often our Hispanic, Black and Tribal Nations families care for their elderly in multigenerational households and they are also at significant risk.’
Surveys, however, indicate that African Americans are the least willing to get vaccinated even though rates of hospitalizations from Covid-19 among them are significantly higher than for Whites. As per the report, experts believe that the attitude towards vaccines is driven by experimentation during the slavery and segregation era.