Despite being hospitalized and killed by the coronavirus at a disproportionately higher rate, Black Americans are receiving Covid-19 vaccinations at a far lower rate than white Americans, according to an analysis by Kaiser Health News.
Among the 16 states that have released data by race related to the vaccine rollout, Black Americans were “significantly underrepresented” among those vaccinated in each and every state.
In Mississippi, where 38% of the population is Black, only 18% of Mississippians have been vaccinated thus far are Black.
According to data from the state’s Department of Health, nearly 150,000 white people have been vaccinated in Pennsylvania, compared to fewer than 6,000 Black Pennsylvania residents.
According to recent CDC data, Covid-19 hospitalization rates among Black Americans are 3.7 times higher than whites, and death rates are 2.8 times higher. However, a history of unethical medical practices perpetrated on Blacks has resulted in a rigid distrust of the medical community by large segments of this population. In the late 1800s, James Marion Sims performed experiments on Black female slaves without anesthesia. And in the Tuskegee experiment, which began in the early 1930s, doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service recruited 600 Blacks in Macon County, Alabama, most of them poor sharecroppers, by promising free medical care. The goal of the study was to record the natural history of syphilis, but the 600 participants were never informed and not properly treated for their illnesses, instead were only told they were being treated for “bad blood.” The study lasted for 40 years before AP broke the story, prompting public outrage. According to a Pew Research Center poll published last month, vaccine skepticism was highest among Black Americans, as less than 43% said they would definitely/probably get a Covid-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, Blacks have historically been roughly 10% less likely than whites to receive the seasonal flu and HPV vaccine. Earlier this month, a startlingly high percentage of health care professionals and frontline workers throughout the country reported being hesitant, or outright refused, to receive coronavirus vaccine. Frontline workers in the United States are disproportionately Black and Hispanic.
1 in 735. Covid-19 has killed one every 735 Black Americans (approximately 136 deaths per 100,000)
“My concern now is if we don’t vaccinate the population that’s highest-risk, we’re going to see even more disproportional deaths in Black and brown communities,” Dr. Fola May, a UCLA physician, told NBC News. “It breaks my heart.”
Reliable information related to Covid-19 vaccine receipts has been problematic. According to NBC News, some states still haven’t posted vaccination updates. Among those state health departments that have provided numbers, there have been some wide discrepancies between their data and the numbers released by the CDC.