People of color are already disadvantaged in the coronavirus vaccine effort

Black Americans are already trailing white Americans in states that track the race of vaccinated residents.

Communities of color tend to have fewer pharmacies per capita, putting them at a disadvantage in the coronavirus vaccination effort.

Why it matters: If racial disparities aren’t addressed in the vaccination effort, including by setting up alternative vaccine sites, communities of color will fall even further behind in a pandemic that has already highlighted deep structural racism within the health care system.

The big picture: Black Americans are already trailing white Americans in the states that track the race of vaccinated residents, KHN recently reported.

  • As vaccines become increasingly available to the general public, physical access to vaccination sites will likely become more of an imperative.

Between the lines: Millions of Americans — in both rural and urban areas — live in places without nearby pharmacies, or with a large population-to-pharmacy ratio, according to a recent analysis by GoodRx.

What’s happening: President Biden has repeatedly stressed his commitment to an equitable coronavirus response, and part of his immediate vaccination plan includes setting up more inoculation sites.

  • Some states are already converting stadiums, convention centers and other large venues into mass vaccination sites.

But reaching vulnerable populations will require thorough strategic planning.

  • For example, if someone lives in a neighborhood without a pharmacy, and the convention center being used for vaccination is across town, transportation could be a huge barrier.

Go deeper: Poor vaccine planning could increase the pandemic’s racial divide

Caitlin Owens,Michelle McGhee

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