Racial Gap in COVID Vaccinations Nearly Eliminated: Survey

Andrew M. Santos

The racial gap in COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. is closing, according to a new survey.

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Covid Vaccine Monitor published on Tuesday found that “similar shares of adults now report being vaccinated across racial and ethnic groups.”

According to the poll, more than seven in 10 (72 percent) of adults reported receiving at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. This included 71 percent of white adults, 70 percent of Black adults, and 73 percent of Hispanic adults. The telephone sample was of 1,519 adults ages 18 and older (including interviews from 339 Hispanic adults and 306 non-Hispanic Black adults).

A much wider racial gap was reported earlier in the nation’s vaccination campaign, driven by several factors including a mistrust of the health care system.

The same survey in May showed that 56 percent of Black adults and 57 percent of Hispanic adults had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, compared to 65 percent of white adults.

Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, the chair of the White House’s COVID-19 equity task force, told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday that the latest figures were “very, very encouraging.”

She said reasons for the racial gap included barriers to vaccine access, as well as some people having concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. “Those concerns were often rooted in misinformation,” she said.

The narrowing of the gap, she said, was the result of “intentional work to address those barriers.”

“These numbers represent much more than simply time passing. They tell the story of an all-of-society effort to get us to where we are today: those employers who offered paid time off for their employees; the childcare providers who offer drop-in services for caregivers so they could go get vaccinated; the public transit authorities and ride-sharing companies providing free rides to vaccination sites; and to every person who drove a neighbor, a coworker, or friend to get vaccinated; the churches, the civic organizations, barbershops, beauty salons, who opened their doors to be trusted spaces for vaccinations; the work of the local doctors, nurses and pharmacists who got on the radio, TV, or in the newspaper to share the facts, the data, and the science with their communities; all the creatives, all the space makers who dedicated their own platforms to advancing a critical public health priority; and the moms who encouraged their sons to get vaccinated and the daughters who encouraged their fathers to get vaccinated—the families who made vaccination a family affair.”

Nunez-Smith also noted that the results of the KFF survey mirror other recent surveys that show similar numbers.

A Pew survey published earlier this month found 70 percent of Black adults, 72 percent of white adults, and 76 percent of Hispanic adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. And a CDC survey last week found 73 percent of Black adults, 76 percent of white adults, and 78 percent of Hispanic adults have now been vaccinated.

“While these numbers differ slightly, the weight of these and other recent studies—it’s confirmation we’ve made important progress in increasing vaccination rates and in decreasing vaccination inequities,” Nunez-Smith said.

Lisa Taylor receives a COVID-19 vaccination from RN Jose Muniz as she takes part in a vaccine study at Research Centers of America on August 07, 2020 in Hollywood, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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