Economic status and race factors influence the distribution of vaccines

April 14, 2021

During the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, scientists were developing vaccines in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but not everyone has had available access to vaccinations. Racial wealth gap has become a problem in the distribution of vaccines to communities of color.

According to CNN news, the US had created more than 4 million doses of  COVID19 vaccines in a day. However, there’s still many people who haven’t received the vaccine while the government is trying to control the pandemic. 

Based on New York Time data, New York state is at a higher risk of dealing with COVID19 in regard to an increase of cases and deaths that occurs every day. Also, 20% of the population in New York state had gotten fully vaccinated, so we need more people to seek Coronavirus treatment.

The Center for Disease and Prevention stated that about 63 million people had been vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single dose vaccine or Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech’s two-doses shots. 

Both Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines are safe and effective. Also, they have similar side effects that include headache, tiredness, and chills. They are eligible for everyone, especially adults that are most likely to get vaccinated. Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 16 years or older while Moderna vaccine is authorized for people 18 years or older. 

In contrast, Moderna’s vaccine does not need to be kept in extreme cold temperatures like Pfizer does. The Moderna vaccine has an expiration of 30 days while Pfizer vaccines can only be kept in the refrigerator for 5 days until it expires. 

Scientists are still working to develop a better vaccine to stop the pandemic. Meanwhile, our government is trying to distribute more vaccines to every state where everyone can receive them. 

How Economic Status Impact on Vaccines Distribution

There are few reasons why people don’t get vaccinated due to financial problems and lack of availability. For example, the impoverished people don’t have access to the internet, which causes them to be unable to make vaccination appointments. Also, class and income can affect people from getting vaccinated.

Other factors that prevent certain groups of people from gaining access to vaccines include economic status and racial barriers. Meanwhile, some essential workers are poor people like those who work in the meat market and front end should be prioritized to receive the vaccines yet they don’t. 

Ms .Brown, a health teacher from the NYC iSchool, said, “Vaccines affect poor people of color and now the vaccine is given out to the neighborhood that needs to keep the society in need. You need to make a vaccine appointment to get the shots but you need to have free time or getting up early while you’re still working. Also, if you don’t have access to a computer or can’t speak English, then you won’t be able to get the vaccine. You need to do a better job where it’s easily acceptable for people to get them no matter if people can call on the phone and speak in different languages and open all the time. You need the time and money to go get the vaccine. We’re working to get public transportation and vaccine appointments, specific neighbors received support so people don’t have to travel around to make appointments.”

Carolyn Gruber, a parent from NYC iSchool, also said, “Obviously people who think they have money will push their way to the top of the line. People who are in positions of power or money are trying to get their vaccine and people who are athletic or doctors move their way in. Also, people who are computer savage, who have technology are able to sign up for the vaccines. People who don’t have access to internet at house or cell phone can’t access to it”.

Not all vaccines were given out for free, which makes things more difficult for those who are categorized in low class like some immigrants and homeless people. People that live in poverty will have a tough time getting vaccinated and need to go through the whole process of vaccination. In public, there are some places that have a sign for free COVID testing and people went there to check if they got a positive test. 

In addition, the pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs; therefore, unemployment rates have risen. Those that don’t have jobs will face challenges with regards to living standards. As a result, the current situation with the coronavirus has an impact on individuals in terms of economic and social aspects. 

Distribution of Vaccine by Ethnicity/Race

Ethnicity and race also impact the distribution of vaccines. Black communities are less likely to seek COVID19 treatment, which has caused an increase in death rates. The government and healthcare center should do something about this issue by providing equal access to vaccines for everyone.

On April 6, 2021, CDC reported that 55% of people who receive at least one dose of the vaccine. Among these groups, 65% were Whites,11% were Hispanic, 8% were Black, and 5% were Asians. This reveals racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations and the unfairness of health services. 

Harvey Epstein, a parent of NYC iSchool, stated, “I think there’s one thing that the government did that was age prioritized. Problem is he hasn’t focused on the hardest of pandemic and should focus on these communities, especially communities of color in New York City who hit hardest should be the first one to get the vaccine. But white communities are getting the vaccine first.”

A family caregiver named Maggie Ornstein stated, “Every states is rolling out the vaccines differently but the community that were hit the hardest are immigrant communities and many people who are undocumented. So, I think race are in front center in terms of whites and some communities. I know that it was at least double for wealthy white communities than it was for the communities of colors. Usually it’s problematic which the cities have taken a step, has open vaccination centers in communities where people are getting sicker and dying from covid. They should had started to prioritize the elders who are at the highest of risk and there should have been some mechanism for the cities to reaching out to people and make sure they are vaccinated for people who will stay at home”According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Black and Latino Americans are hospitalized at rates four times higher than White Americans, and the rate of death is close to three times higher.

There’s many Coronavirus cases directly affecting the Black population in many states where vaccination rates are low. For example, 30% of Black people are resident in Maryland, yet only 16% of people were vaccinated. With 11% of the population that were Hispanic and 5% of the vaccine recipients. Also, in Chicago where there are 30% of the Black population but just 14% of the people were vaccinated so far. 

Researchers found out that Black communities didn’t receive vaccines because of mistrust in medical treatment and discrimination prevents them from reaching out for help, especially since most doctors and nurses are mainly White people. 

“Race influences the distribution of the vaccine because minority communities do not have the same access as people in better conditions to receive the vaccine. Discrimination is unfortunately rampant in many places, and the vaccine is no exception to that. We must find ways to make sure everyone has equal access to important medical care such as this,” according to Alex Russo, a government worker for immigrants.

“Older adults and those who may not have access to technology. I think things have gone a bit better because now there are cities that are vaccinated and home balance senior. Older People who can’t get out of the house, the vaccine should go to them, so it’s an issue of race. When you think of ethnicity around the vaccinated and who haven’t. There’s a really big discrepancy, white community and communities of color so I think race is one of the biggest and age,” Ornstein said.

There’s a limit of vaccines so certain groups of people especially health care workers are prioritized to receive the vaccine. Public health experts argued that race, discrimination and socioeconomic are factors that impact people from receiving equal opportunities of vaccination.

“People can gain access to the vaccines because of their work status, but only frontline healthcare workers should have first access. We can ensure that everyone has equal access to the vaccines by making them free for everyone and placing vaccine sites in minority communities,” Russo said.

Essential workers and those who are at higher risk should be prioritized to receive the vaccine. The healthcare center should provide more free vaccines to people across the neighborhood in order to reduce the spread of COVID19. Also, non-government organizations should create programs for communities that need more information about coronavirus and encourage them to seek COVID19 treatment.

Healthcare centers should recruit Black Americans to promote vaccination to reduce the racial disparities. We want to ensure that those neighbors have received the vaccines and are aware of social distancing. 

Some states should provide transportation so people can get to their appointments and make the process of vaccination go smoothly for both the vaccine recipient and staff.  

Many people lack access to vaccines, which leads to an increase of Coronavirus cases and death rates. Our top priority is to lessen the effect of Coronavirus and to provide support and resources to people so they can avoid getting sick.  

In hopes more people will get vaccinated, we strive to end the COVID19 pandemic. Our goal is to distribute vaccines from state to state and decrease death rates from Coronavirus.

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