Latino and Black people are generally more vulnerable to COVID-19, yet they remain far less likely to have received a vaccine, according to the latest demographic data from the CDC.
Racial and ethnic data is available for about 24.2 million of the roughly 44.5 million people in the U.S. who have received at least one dose of vaccine, and it shows that only 8.7% of those vaccinated are Hispanic/Latino, and only 6.4% are Black, while white people account for 64.2%.
Devon Greyson is a professor of health communications at the University of Massachusetts who studies the way people use information to make health decisions. When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, she says, there are two factors, and the first one is trust.
“It's understandable why individuals and communities that have been mistreated by medicine or the government might have extra questions about whether or not to accept a new vaccine,” Greyson said. She says this stems from historic and current racism in U.S. health care systems.
The second factor, she says, is access.
“Many sign-up systems have relied on internet access or other types of technology,” Greyson said. “Being able to log in at a specific time of day and keep trying for a long period of time – someone might not have that kind of time available.”
Greyson says partnering with Black and Latino community leaders can help foster trust and access.
“The leaders who are health care providers or who cross over into health care as social workers, or religious leaders, let them take the lead in shaping the way in which we are distributing vaccines and vaccine information to their communities because they are the trusted go-betweens,” Greyson said.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.