Early data released on Monday suggest Black Americans and other non-white groups are getting vaccinated at a slower rate than white Americans, even though Blacks and Hispanics have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 with a disproportionate number of deaths.
According to the CDC, Blacks received 5.4% of shots despite national data showing they made up 16% of healthcare workers and 14% of nursing home residents, two groups prioritized for the first wave of vaccinations.
Whites received 60.4% of shots and accounted for 60% of healthcare workers and 75% of nursing home residents.
Data on race and ethnicity was only available on about half of the nearly 13 million vaccination shots given in the first month.
New York City on Sunday reported that while Blacks made up 24% of the city's population, according to 2019 data, they have so far sought and received only 11% of coronavirus vaccinations.
The data comes as top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci on Monday urged all Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible to not only protect themselves but to also prevent new variants of the virus from emerging.
“You need to get vaccinated when it becomes available as quickly and as expeditiously as possible throughout the country and the reason for that is that there is a fact that permeates virology and that is that viruses cannot mutate if they don’t replicate and if you stop their replication by vaccinating widely and not giving the virus an open playing field to continue to respond to the pressures that you put on it, you will not get mutations.”
Fauci’s comment came as the CDC reported that the variant first discovered in the UK was found in 32 states and another variant discovered in South Africa was found in 2 states – South Carolina and Maryland.
The CDC also reported that January saw the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 than in any other month since the pandemic began – with more than 90,000 deaths… Though overall cases and hospitalizations nationwide are dropping from highs set last month.