The gap was reopened for booster shots after a targeted campaign helped narrow the racial gap in US vaccination rates last fall.
Proponents say distrust of the public health system, access problems, and staff shortages prevent blacks and Hispanics from receiving boosters at the same rate as whites.
The gap was wide, as blacks and Hispanics died in Covid-19 at a disproportionately higher rate than whites, and authorities worked hard to promote vaccines in these communities. Health officials have worked with religious leaders and community groups to address vaccine concerns and make vaccines more accessible.
Eleven states and Washington, DC track booster recipients by race and ethnicity. In those places, the white booster rate (as a share of the fully vaccinated population) is the highest, while the black and Hispanic population lags behind.
For example, in Illinois, more than half of fully vaccinated white residents received boosters by January 19, while 38% of blacks and 33% of Hispanics had a booster effect. received. The white population of the United States is also aging. That is, more Caucasian residents were encouraged to receive boosters sooner.
Gap is questioning whether booster deployment campaigns have reached some of the most vulnerable populations as cases of the new variant of the virus, Omicron, increase.
Joe Coil, head of the Michigan Infectious Disease Prevention Department, said: “Clearly there is a cascading effect.”
Caucasian resident Received disproportionately The original dose of the vaccine when deployment began last spring. Limited vaccine supply and complex online scheduling systems have made shots less accessible in low-income color communities. hesitation About vaccines. In May, 56% of black adults and 57% of Hispanic adults received at least one dose, compared to 65% of white adults, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. ..
By September, Marcella Nunez-Smith, head of Covid-19 Equity Task Force for Joe Biden, reported that nearly equal proportions of white, black and Hispanic adults had received at least one vaccination. I quoted the survey data that I have. “Very, very encouraging.”
However, Omicron subsequently caused record high infections and led the CDC to recommend additional vaccine doses.
Omicron also scattered sparks Staff shortage According to Monica Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist at Johns Hopkins University who runs Community Vax, a research alliance that studies the black and hispanic community, previously established outres in long-term care facilities across the country. Many of the reach activities had to be reduced. ..
“We’re going back to focusing on more centralized clinics, as opposed to meeting people in the community at places like the barbers that hosted vaccine clinics in the past,” Schoch-Spana said. ..
She added: “Currently, the resource shortage is personnel. The number of medical professionals staffed in the clinic is small, not large, but the target population and small number, but it has a significant impact on public health.”
It is also difficult to consistently track booster shot capture by racial groups. The CDC does not report the race or ethnicity of booster shot recipients under the age of 65, as in the case of the first vaccine dose.
Federal government among people over the age of 65 data Whites make up a slightly larger share of booster dose recipients in that age group compared to their share of a fully vaccinated population, while blacks and Hispanics make up a slightly smaller share. I am.
At the state level, the gap is bigger.
In Michigan, there is a racial gap of more than 15 points, and as of January 18, 52% of fully vaccinated Caucasian residents have been boosted. In contrast, 37.3% of fully vaccinated black residents and fully vaccinated Hispanic residents. The disparity is widest among young people.
Research suggestion Same pattern nationwide. In the 30-39 year old group, 42% of fully vaccinated Caucasian residents aged 30-39 were boosted, compared to 21% of Black residents and 28% of Hispanic residents. did.
Brittany James, who practices at a clinic in the South Side of Chicago that serves primarily black residents, hasn’t had much time to convince fully vaccinated patients to receive boosters. It doesn’t take, he said. She said the challenge was to make sure they knew they were eligible to receive it and where to find it. Three in ten black and Hispanic adults don’t know or are unaware that they need a booster. Research found.
“When the CDC finally decides to make that switch[recommend boosters for everybody over 18].. .. .. Who knows how well it was communicated? “William Parker, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, said.
Epidemiologist Céline Gounder, who was a member of the Biden administration’s Covid-19 Transition Team Advisory Board, is a good sign that high booster intake among older people is the most beneficiary demographic of boosters. Said.
However, Gounder also pointed out data showing that white, high-income educated people were most likely to receive boosters.
“Apart from old demographics, people who get boosters are mostly people who say they’re at a relatively lower risk than others,” she said. “That is, your yield on the actual impact on hospitalization and death will be lower than if you were sure you were reaching those more vulnerable populations.”
Schochspana fears that it is unlikely that work on these populations will resume until the Omicron wave subsides.
“We are retreating in the early days in some respects,” Schoch-Spana said. “It’s déjàvu.”
Additional report by Caitlin Gilbert
Racial inequality in the U.S. Covid booster campaign is related to health authorities
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