Why Equity Matters in COVID Vaccine Rollout
As COVID-19 vaccine rollout sputters along, each state is grappling with its own issues. And each state has determined its own priority list for vaccine administration. However, one thing is universally true, equity matters in COVID vaccine rollout.
As public health professional plan to rollout more doses to the populations that need them, it’s important that they plan for equitable distribution for several reasons.
COVID-19 disproportionately affects people of color
CDC data shows that minority populations are disproportionately affected by the worst effects of COVID-19. Latinos and Native Americans are four times as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 infection as Caucasians. And the death rate for COVID-19 is nearly three times higher for Black Americans.
The disproportionate effect on COVID-19 on communities of color requires thoughtfulness in vaccine rollout planning. Ensuring the people of color are well-informed and have attainable access to the vaccine along with their priority group is essential to save lives.
The country has a history of medical inequity
The United States has a history of providing poor medical care for minority communities. This has been manifested in many ways.
One example is dangerous medical experiments on minority populations administered without consent. Another example is the downplaying of serious symptoms affecting Black patients. And another is the lack of effort to build and maintain adequate hospitals and clinics in inner city settings.
Poor health outcomes
The result is not just poor health outcomes. It is also suspicion and the perpetuation of negative feelings toward government and formal medicine. Public health professionals have an opportunity now to prove that the country can do better by administering this vaccine in an equitable way.
It’s time for politicians to put their ideals into action
The Black Lives Matter movement gained steam in 2020. As it did, politicians on both sides of the aisle affirmed their commitment to racial equity.
These politicians now have the opportunity to put their values and commitment into action. Through equitable COVID-19 vaccine administration, they can build bridges with their marginalized constituents and change the paradigm on racial equity.