LDF sent letters to the governors of eight states and mayors of two cities calling on them to take immediate steps to eliminate the stark racial disparities in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. Since COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color, it is critical that states ensure vaccine equity through prioritization of those most vulnerable to COVID-19 protects and benefits everyone.
While actively monitoring vaccine distribution strategies across the county, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund is focused on eight states and two cities with alarming and dangerous racial disparities in vaccinations: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, New York City, and Washington D.C.
Black communities, in particular, have been ravaged by COVID-19, dying at nearly twice the rate of white people nationwide. Black and Latinx individuals often hold frontline essential and service industry jobs, which prevent them from working from home, and disproportionately experience social and healthcare inequities, all of which contribute to increased risk of COVID-19 exposure. As of May 6, 2021, more than 149 million people nationally have received at least one vaccine dose, however, racial and ethnic data is available for only approximately 55% of recipients. Of those, only 8.8% doses thus far have been administered to Black people and 12.6% to Latinx people. In contrast, 63.2% of vaccines have been administered to white people, nationally. Similarly, at the local level, communities of color have received significantly fewer vaccinations than their racial group’s respective COVID-19 case, hospitalization, or death rates, as well as their share of the total local population.
Barriers to vaccine access, such as vaccine deserts, lack of digital access, and inattention to unhoused and incarcerated communities, unduly burden communities of color and limit their ability to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine. The letters urge each Governor or Mayor to act immediately to protect communities of color and ensure vaccine equity. Among others, LDF’s recommendations include:
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Mayor Muriel Bowser. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Kay Ivey. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Ron Desantis. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Brian Kemp. Read here.
Delivered on May 10 2021 to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor J.B. Pritzker. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor John Bel Edwards. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Larry Hogan. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Tate Reeves. Read here.
Delivered on May 11 2021 to Governor Henry McMaster. Read here.