In New York City, black people make up nearly a quarter of the population, but only 11 percent of the people who have had COVID-19 shots.
Latinx people make up 29 percent of the population, but have only received 15 percent of the shots available, according to data from Bloomberg.
And when a mass vaccination site opened in a predominantly Latinx and black neighborhood in upper Manhattan, white New Yorkers flooded in and received the majority of shots on offer when it first opened on January 14.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident ‘outrageous’ and added during a Sunday conference call: ‘clearly, we do see a profound disparity that needs to be addressed aggressively and creatively.
‘We’ve got a profound problem of distrust and hesitancy, particularly in communities of color.’
But the same pattern persists across the country. More than 60 percent of people who have had their first shots are white – in line with their share of the population – according data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Only 5.4 percent of Americans who have had at least one COVID-9 vaccine are black, despite African Americans making up more than 12 percent of the US population, and being at higher risk of contracting or dying from coronavirus.
Similar disparities persist among Latinx people, who represent just 11.5 percent of Americans who have had their first shots despite making up an estimated 18.7 percent of the population.
The Biden administration has pledged to address the wide racial disparities in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
But during a Monday press briefing, Biden’s coronavirus response team largely punted the issue, saying there was little they could do to address racial vaccination disparities until data they had more data on the aces of people getting vaccinated.
According to the CDC, only about half of the vaccinations reported to the agency included race and ethnicity data.
In New York City, black and Latinx people each make up about twice the share of the population compared to the share of vaccines they have received
Vaccination rates are in-line with population share for white people, but black and Latinx people have accounted for just 5.4% and 11.5% of vaccinations despite comprising 12.5% and 19% of the US population, according to CDC data
Vaccinating black and Latinx communities is as critical to stemming the pandemic in the US as it is challenging.
Black Americans are 1.8 times more likely to get COVID-19, four times more likely to be hospitalized for the infection, and 2.6 times more likely to die if they test positive for coronavirus, compared to white people.
Latinx Americans face almost identical risks: they are 1.7 times more likely to get infected, 4.1 times more likely to be hospitalized and 2.8 times more likely to die of COVID-19, according to the CDC.
CDC, White House and state officials have all states that the vaccination of at-risk communities – and specifically minority Americans – is a top priority.
And yet the vaccination data doesn’t bear out that prioritization.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the incident ‘outrageous’ and added during a Sunday conference call: ‘clearly, we do see a profound disparity that needs to be addressed aggressively and creatively
The mass vaccination site at the Armory Track & Field Center has had to create strict rules that 60 percent of vaccine doses there are reserved for residents of the hard-hit and largely Latinx and black communities in surrounding Washington Heights and adjacent neighborhoods (dark red, upper Manhattan)
So far, 31.8 million first and second doses of COVID-19 have been given to Americans – starting with health care workers, who were given first-priority access to shots beginning December 14, 2020.
Black and Latinx people presented 16 percent and 13 percent of the health care workforce in 2019.
So it would stand to reason that vaccination rates documented by the CDC during the first month of vaccinations would reflect those numbers – but it falls short.
Hospitals and nursing homes reported far higher refusal rates than expected in the first weeks of the rollout.
One Illinois veterans home reported that 80 percent of residents said ‘yes’ to vaccination – but 80 percent of staff said ‘no.’
But the problem goes far beyond refusals, especially now that access has been expanded beyond health care workers.
In New York City, for example, white people have received nearly half of the vaccinations given, but make up less than a third of the population, according to data from Bloomberg.
Latinx people have received just 15 percent of vaccines in the city, but make up 29 percent of the population.
The mass vaccination site at the Armory Track & Field Center has had to create strict rules that 60 percent of vaccine doses there are reserved for residents of the largely Latinx and black communities in surrounding Washington Heights and adjacent neighborhoods.
Like most cities and towns across the US, vaccination information in New York City largely lives online, and sign-up for a slot can be done most easily from a computer or smart phone.
But that, too, can drive disparities, pointed out local city councilman Mark Levine.
‘People who don’t have a computer, don’t have good internet, aren’t comfortable with technology, maybe have limited English language skills, they are not getting through. And that’s reflected in who is showing up at these sites,’ he told CNN.
‘It’s like “The Hunger Games.”‘