February 16, 2021
Has the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Been Equitable?
A quick reading of the data around COVID-19 vaccine distribution suggests that racial minorities are receiving the vaccine at disproportionately low rates. AAF’s Director of Human Welfare Policy Tara O’Neill Hayes examines the numbers around vaccine distribution and concludes that while it is too early to draw any firm conclusions, the complexities around vaccine rollout and data reporting suggest any simple narrative of discrimination is unfounded.
Her central points:
- Fewer than half of states are reporting any data regarding the race of vaccine recipients, and among those that do, 38 percent are categorized as either “multiracial,” “other,” or “unknown.”
- Taking into account who has been eligible for vaccines thus far makes the inequities appear less pronounced than they may otherwise seem.
- Factors separate from vaccine availability—such as distrust of government and health care providers as well as underlying inequities related to income, education, and job access—are likely contributing to any racial disparities that do exist.