Early COVID-19 vaccination data in Shelby County show a large racial gap. Much more white residents are vaccinated than black residents. The Shelby County Health Department said the data were not robust enough to show racial disparity.
The data arrives just weeks after vaccination, which begins in Tennessee’s largest county, which accounts for nearly half of the state’s black population.
So far, 5,417 white residents have been vaccinated, twice as many as 2,548 black residents. That is, 51.9% of people receiving the vaccine are white and 24.4% are black.
An additional 23.7%, or 2,475, are listed as other races. Also, according to data from the Shelby County Health Department, 4,929 people did not list their races at all.
These early numbers can change over time and are in counties where 54% of the population is black. Ethnic data identify about 1.6% of vaccinated people as Hispanic. According to the US Census, Shelby County is 7% Hispanic.
The data is up-to-date up to January 7, and includes information on about 15,000 vaccinated people. Much of the vaccine data may come from the Memphis hospital system. The local hospital started vaccination 10 days before the Shelby County Health Department and administered more doses than the Health Department. The Baptist and Methodist hospital systems do not publish racial or ethnic immunization data.
On Thursday, Shelby County Health Director Alisa Hauschalter said she did not believe the early data raised the level of racial inequality.
“At this point, we can’t calculate that it’s a inequality … What I can say is that we need to know in the long run, introduce a mechanism to make it accessible to people, And people have the information to make informed decisions, “says Hauschalter.
Health directors said the lack of racial data for some of the first responders in the department meant that current data were not complete enough to reveal racial disparities. However, according to Howshalter, the ministry is working to build a centrally impartial vaccination infrastructure.
Haushalter said: “… I said this is a long campaign, so I’m aiming to keep different sites in different communities for months. Also, existing data on illness burden, social vulnerabilities, etc. You can use some to identify where these sites should be. That said, there is no perfect system, so we always have ourselves so that we can reach different communities. Consider what you are doing and what you can improve.
Local doctors drive the need for more data
Dr. Stephen Threllkeld, co-chair of the Memphis Infection Control Program Baptist Memorial Hospital, said Wednesday that it was imperative to keep in mind the number of people who did not provide racial information for the county and to accurately record race. Said there is.
“If you don’t know who is getting it, it’s hard to know how to solve the problem … If you’re not sure if it’s managed fairly, why and fix it I can’t figure out how to do it, “said Threllkeld. “If people of color don’t have the vaccine, they need to fix it. If you’re not sure if it’s happening, that’s also a problem that needs to be fixed.”
“There are some very important factors, people of color are at the mercy of incidents and deaths,” said Threllkeld. “We are still wondering who is vaccinated. What you don’t know is how they are reacting and what’s happening, all of which is potentially important. We still don’t know what’s important. “
During the pandemic, COVID-19 mortality declined along race — 57% of COVID-19 deaths are black residents, who make up 54% of the population. And 35% of COVID-19 deaths occur among Caucasian residents, who make up 34% of the population.
Coronavirus, Memphis vaccine status:Mortality continues to accelerate
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Methodist system had a total of 11,900 doses, but Dr. Nick Heissmith said that Methodists had a demographic breakdown of vaccinated employees and vaccinated employees. He said he did not disclose the percentage of.
Hysmith emphasized that the vaccine should be given near the place where people live, not in one place.
“As long as the community health sector can enter all communities through a variety of means, it will be of widespread importance,” he said. “I think the key is to get the vaccine to the community, rather than having one or two hubs where people come.”
According to Hauschalter, the Ministry of Health has signed a contract for a vaccination site for White Haven, where most of Memphis is black.
“And once the deal is signed, we can announce the site. We want to make it a permanent site. It may not be open five days a week, but on a permanent site Next, we’re working with other partners to identify other permanent sites throughout the community. And, as I said before, we’ve got some roving sites and it’s as easy as possible. We will give you access to, “says Haushalter.
The director of health said that national vaccine supply remains constrained and that the number of sites the agency will open in the short term depends heavily on vaccine supply.
“Without a sufficient supply of vaccines, we can’t open too many sites,” Haushalter said.
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