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What Will It Take For The COVID-19 Vaccination Effort To Be Racially Equitable?

A patient with a traditional Fijian tattoo receives a COVID-19 vaccination in Federal Way, Washington. Swedish Medical Center held a mobile vaccination clinic at the Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington to serve racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
A patient with a traditional Fijian tattoo receives a COVID-19 vaccination in Federal Way, Washington. Swedish Medical Center held a mobile vaccination clinic at the Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington to serve racial and ethnic minority groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Much has been made of Black Americans’ hesitancy to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, some pandemic stakeholders are pointing to another reason why Black Americans, and other members of communities of color, might not be receiving the vaccine: access.

— 1A (@1a) February 4, 2021

It’s hard to get an appointment to get vaccinated in many communities of color. And when there is availability, sometimes wealthier, white people from outside of those communities take those appointments, despite living in other places. That’s happening as Black, Indigenous and Pacific Islander Americans have experienced the highest levels of death from COVID-19, according to the APM Research Lab. And available racial data regarding vaccination is still inconsistent around the country, and it’s affecting distribution.

Find our last conversation from our series: “Vaccination Nation.”

What can be done to rebuild trust between communities of color and medical communities now? And how can we ensure equitable access to the vaccine?

Copyright 2021 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.