As noted in the previous analysis, preventing racial disparities in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will be important in helping to mitigate the disproportionate effects of the virus on people of color and to prevent further racial disparities in gender. health in the future. the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention (CDC) said vaccine equity is an important goal and defined equity as preferential access and administration to those most affected by COVID-19. In addition, achieving high vaccination rates among individuals and communities will be essential to achieve broader population immunity through a vaccine.
the CDC reports the demographic characteristics, including race / ethnicity, of people vaccinated against COVID-19 nationally. As of May 11, 2021, the CDC reported that race / ethnicity was known for just over half (55%) of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Of this group, almost two-thirds were white (63%), 13% were Hispanic, 9% were black, 6% were Asian, 1% were Native American or Alaskan, and
To better understand who gets the vaccine and whether certain groups face immunization disparities, KFF collects and analyzes state-reported data on COVID-19 vaccinations by race / ethnicity. As of May 10, 2021, 47 states and Washington DC were reporting vaccination data by race / ethnicity. This analysis examines how vaccinations were distributed by race / ethnicity and the share of the total population vaccinated by race / ethnicity. It also assesses trends in this data since March 1.
Distribution of vaccines by race / ethnicity
Figure 1 shows the shares of COVID-19 vaccinations, cases and deaths among blacks, Hispanics, Asians and whites. The data also shows the distribution of the total population by these groups as of 2019. Data is not shown for other groups due to data limitations; however, we did a separate analysis of vaccination rates among Native Americans and Alaska Natives. Together, these data show:
As observed in previous weeks, blacks and Hispanics received lower shares of vaccinations relative to their shares of cases and relative to their shares of the total population in most states. The share of vaccinations received by blacks also continues to be lower than their share of deaths in most states. The share of vaccinations received by Hispanics is similar to or greater than their share of deaths in most reporting states, although in some states it continues to be lower. For example, in Colorado, 10% of vaccinations went to Hispanics, while they account for 41% of cases, 25% of deaths, and 22% of the state’s total population. Likewise, in the District of Columbia, blacks have received 31% of vaccinations, while they account for 55% of cases, 70% of deaths, and 46% of the total population. The magnitude of these differences varies from state to state, and the number of states where the share of vaccinations received by blacks and Hispanics is more proportional to their share of the total population and / or their share. cases or deaths in the state is increasing. For example, in Oregon, 2% of vaccinations were received by black people, which is similar to their share of cases (3%), deaths (2%) and the total population (2%). In Virginia, 12% of vaccinations were received by Hispanics, which is higher than their share of deaths (7%) and similar to their share of the total population (10%), but lower than the share of cases (19 %). These smaller differences are seen largely in states that have a smaller proportion of Hispanic and Black residents overall.
In most states, the share of vaccinations among Asians was similar to or greater than their share of cases and deaths, although in a few states it was lower. In Alaska, 5% of vaccinations were received by Asians, while they accounted for 11% of deaths. The share of vaccinations among Asians was similar to or greater than their share of the total population in most states, although in a few states, such as Pennsylvania and Virginia, it was lower. In Hawaii, 54% of vaccinations were received by Asians, which is higher than their share of the total population (40%), but similar to their share of deaths (50%).
Whites received a higher share of vaccinations relative to their share of cases and total population in most states reporting data. In less than half of the reporting states, the share of vaccinations received by whites was greater than their share of deaths, while in the other states it was similar or lower. For example, in Colorado, 80% of vaccinations were received by whites, despite making up 68% of the population. In Alaska, more than a third (38%) of vaccinations were received by whites, which is proportional to their share of deaths (39%), but lower than their share of the population (65%). This trend in Alaska partly reflects the fact that the share of vaccinations received by Native Americans and Alaska Natives (19%) is higher than the share of the total population (15%) in Alaska.
Percentage of total population vaccinated by race / ethnicity
We also calculate the percentage of the total population that received a COVID-19 vaccine for the 45 states that report racial / ethnic data based on people who received at least one dose of the vaccine. (States that report race / ethnicity based on total doses administered are excluded from this analysis.) Figure 2 shows the percentage of the total population that was vaccinated by race / ethnicity in each of these states and the total in 42 of these states. (Hawaii, North Dakota, and New Mexico are excluded from the total due to differences in how they report their data.) It also shows the ratio of vaccination rates of whites to those of blacks, Hispanics. and Asians as well as the percentage point difference between vaccination rates for whites and rates for other groups.
Overall, in these 42 states, the percentage of whites who received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (40%) was about 1.5 times the rate for blacks (27%) and 1.4 times the rate for Hispanics (29%) as of May 10, 2021. Whites had a higher vaccination rate than Hispanics in all reporting states except Virginia, Missouri, Alaska and Vermont, and a higher rate than blacks in all reporting states , except Oregon and Alaska. However, the magnitude of these differences varied considerably from state to state. For example, whites were twice as likely to have received a vaccine as Hispanics in South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona, and Iowa, and had a vaccination rate that was at least 2.5 times higher. higher than blacks in Hawaii and South Dakota. The overall vaccination rate of Asians in the states was higher than that of whites (50% vs. 40%), which is in line with the pattern of most reporting states. However, Asians had lower vaccination rates than whites in ten states (Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, North Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Colorado, Connecticut, and Rhode Island).
The vaccination rate this week (May 3-10, 2021) has remained similar to that of last week across all racial / ethnic groups. In the reporting states, vaccination rates increased by 1 percentage point for whites, from 39.0% to 40.3%, and for blacks, from 25.4% to 26.6%, now the difference in rates between these groups. The rate for Asians and Hispanics rose 2 percentage points, from 26.8% to 28.8% and 47.8% to 50.2%, respectively.
The completeness of race / ethnicity data has improved in most states since March 1. Some states, such as Arizona, Texas, Alaska, and Michigan, have seen a steep drop in the share of vaccinations with an unknown or missing race.
Taken together, these data raise concerns about racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations. Preventing such disparities will be important to mitigate the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on people of color, prevent the disparities from worsening in the future, and achieve broad population immunity. A number of states are implementing strategies to address these disparities, and the federal government is launching a range of approaches to expand access and use of vaccines, with particular emphasis on underserved areas and communities hardest hit by the pandemic. Expanding immunization eligibility between states is also expected to lead to an increase in immunizations among blacks and Hispanics, who are generally younger than whites. Yet despite these efforts and the widening of eligibility, disparities in immunization rates persist and the pace of immunizations has slowed between groups. As eligibility widens in all states, efforts to prioritize equity and maximize people’s access to immunizations will be important to continue to make progress toward achieving immunization rates. high in all groups. A focus on equity will also be important when 12-15 year olds become eligible, as analysis shows more than half of this group are teens of color, a quarter of whom are Hispanic.
While the data provides useful information, it also remains subject to gaps, limitations and inconsistencies that limit the ability to get a complete picture of who is and who is not getting vaccinated. For example, data gaps and separate reporting of data for vaccinations administered by the Indian Health Service limit the ability to analyze vaccinations among Native Americans and Hawaiians and Native Alaskans and other Pacific Islanders. . As such, we performed a separate analysis of vaccinations among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. Additionally, some states have high proportions of vaccines that are missing race / ethnicity or that are classified as “other”, which limits the ability to interpret the data. For example, in Alaska, more than 30% of vaccinations were for people classified as “other” race, and race was unknown for 42% of vaccinations in Virginia. Three states did not report vaccination data by race / ethnicity. Comprehensive standardized data across states will be vital to monitor and ensure equitable vaccine access and use.
All reported vaccine data by race / ethnicity is available through our COVID-19 State Data and Policy Actions tracker and downloadable through our State Health Facts Online tables. KFF will continue to update this data regularly as vaccine distribution continues and more people become eligible.