Racial minorities not prioritized for vaccine

Inequality with vaccine rollout

Racial minorities not prioritized for vaccine

Laniyah Thornton

One year after the first COVID-19 case was discovered in the U.S., affecting millions of people, a COVID-19 vaccine is slowly being released. 

Now it’s time for the vaccine to be administered to the public, although not everyone can get their vaccination right away and must wait for people who are at a higher risk to receive it first.

According to the CDC, the vaccine rollout has been conducted through a series of phases. Phase 1A refers to the first batch of vaccines, which is given to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. For phase 1B, frontline essential workers and people ages 75 and older receive the vaccine. Lastly, phase 1C vaccines are given to people aged 65–74 years old, people aged 16–64 years old with underlying medical conditions and other essential workers.

Along with having to wait for a vaccine because of your age or occupation, race has become a large factor in determining who receives the vaccine.

We have seen months of racial inequality and it continues even in medicine. In Miami-Dade, a county in Florida where black people make up 17.7% of the population, studies have shown that only 6.5% of the black community has been vaccinated. That’s 11,001 people. This is infuriating, especially knowing that number isn’t close to how many black people are in that community.  

On the other hand, white people make up 79% of Miami-Dade’s population and 66% of the white community has been vaccinated. That’s 110,505 people. This is gravely concerning, as minority groups are at a higher risk for catching and potentially dying from COVID-19.

Although I believe there should be no prioritization on who gets the vaccine, frontline workers and elders need to be tended to first as they are more susceptible to catching the virus.

My great-grandmother just turned 80 years old. She is blind and has yet to receive the vaccine. This is another example of the racial disparity, as she should have been one of the first people to receive the vaccine, but instead, she hasn’t received information about it. The government needs to do better. They are failing us minorities during a time in which we put all our trust and lives into their hands.