According to a study on vaccines and race published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately under-represented nationwide in immunization numbers, a continuing trend among minorities. Death rates and COVID-19 infections also have an uneven impact on communities of color.
Corrin Bond, academic retention specialist in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, worked with struggling students and community members this year.
“The pandemic has really widened the inequality gaps,” Bond said. “We see that in all kinds of systems. When it comes to racism in the medical system, lack of proper health care. Much of the inequalities between the different systems that we have seen have been really exacerbated by the pandemic and have continued in vaccines. ”
Bond also referred to obstacles such as language gaps and difficult work schedules, things students have asked the OMA for help.
Communicating when vaccines are available to different groups has been problematic enough, let alone for students and families who may have difficulty navigating medical jargon in English.
“As a resident of Idaho, one great thing I followed was not as much information about how to schedule a vaccine and who was eligible,” Bond said. “I have many loved ones in the service industry who haven’t realized they were eligible for the vaccine for a while.”
As for the conversation around the idea that minorities “are less motivated” to receive vaccines, Bond sees it as a matter of accessibility and medical trust.
“My first question is: what does this mean? I think that’s common rhetoric when discussing communities of color, ”Bond said. “There are a lot of stereotypes that place responsibility on individuals rather than looking at the systems we live in. When we talk about things like not being motivated all of a sudden all of these questions come to my mind like ‘do you have the resources? ”
Problems with discharge, understanding how the vaccine works, understanding the vaccine registration process, and simply accessing resources online could all weigh disproportionately on minorities.
“I think it has to do with communication, having lost trust in communities of color,” Bond said. “Seeing members of these communities trying to build that confidence for the health and well-being of getting vaccinated.”
The Black Lives Matter lecture series hosted Cedric Taylor’s discussion of COVID-19 and racial inequality in America. Taylor is a documentary filmmaker and professor of sociology at Central Michigan University.
“We’re actually in a storm, but we’re in different boats,” Taylor said. “This pandemic has exposed some fundamental inequalities in American society.”
Minority populations of Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians disproportionately account for many more COVID-19 deaths in America according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Taylor acknowledged that lack of access to health care plays a role, but a lack of trust in doctors has also established reluctance to vaccinate. Black adults were found to have more negative opinions of medical scientists, according to Pew Research Center.
In order to overcome these inequalities, Taylor called for changes in sick leave and family leave, the way educational institutions are funded, and entrench structural racism.
At this time, a statistical breakdown of ethnicity and vaccinations at the district level is difficult to find as Public Health – North Central District of Idaho is unable to provide District 5 figures. .
“We only have data on the ethnicity of 53% of those who received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine,” said doctor Marcella Nunez-Smith in a White House press briefing.
Haadiya Tariq can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @haadiyatariq