Vaccination Divide May Compound Other Health Disparities

Vaccination data shows a racial disparity, including in Maryland, where black residents are receiving the vaccination more slowly than white populations – threatening to compound health disparities.

A report from Kaiser Health, affiliated with MACo Corporate Partner Kaiser Permanente, highlights frustrating data arising from early efforts to offer the new vaccines for COVID-19, principally among health care professionals.

From the Kaiser Health report:

The vast majority of the initial round of vaccines has gone to health care workers and staffers on the front lines of the pandemic — a workforce that’s typically racially diverse made up of physicians, hospital cafeteria workers, nurses and janitorial staffers.

If the rollout were reaching people of all races equally, the shares of people vaccinated whose race is known should loosely align with the demographics of health care workers. But in every state, Black Americans were significantly underrepresented among people vaccinated so far.

Access issues and mistrust rooted in structural racism appear to be the major factors leaving Black health care workers behind in the quest to vaccinate the nation. The unbalanced uptake among what might seem like a relatively easy-to-vaccinate workforce doesn’t bode well for the rest of the country’s dispersed population.

Read the full Kaiser Health report online.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties