Is there really no racial difference in the vaccine rate over 65?

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Durant May 3 Observations on the American Families Plan, President Joe Biden boasted that there was not much disparity in vaccination rates for white Americans and black Americans who were at least 65 years old.

“And what’s happening now is that we’re talking about how people wouldn’t get shot, they wouldn’t participate; look what that was, they told us it was more likely that there were people over 65,” Biden said. “But now people over 65, more than 80%, have been vaccinated and 66% fully vaccinated. And there’s virtually no difference between white, black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans.”

It’s not the only time Biden makes that claim.

It went even further on April 27th during observations on the covid-19 response: “And by the way, based on the data reported, the proportion: the proportion of vaccinated seniors is essentially the same between whites and color seniors … In fact, if I’m not mistaken, there are more Latino and African American people who have been vaccinated, in percentage, than white elderly people “.

However, the national data that Biden continues to promote (vaccination statistics for both race and age) are not public. We asked the White House for the information underlying this claim, but officials did not provide details.

So we moved on to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spokeswoman Chandra Zeikel told KHN-PolitiFact on May 6 that “unfortunately, we do not have a breakdown of data on both racial demographics and age group.” Zeikel did not answer a follow-up question when or if the CDC would publish this data, but the current CDC vaccination data are only broken down by race / ethnicity and shows significant differences, with white Americans far exceeding the percentage of other groups receiving a shot. It also shows that the vaccination rate among some groups, including blacks and Latin Americans, does not match their population share, although new CDC data show that there has been progress on this front in the past two weeks.

This made us wonder about the premise of Biden’s statement. We turned to the experts to get their opinion.

“To my knowledge, there are no complete public data on vaccination rates by race / ethnicity and age,” Samantha Artiga, vice president and director of KFF’s racial health and equity policy program, wrote in an email. “As such, we are not able to assess whether there are racial disparities in vaccines among people over the age of 65.”

What about other statewide data or anecdotes that could support Biden’s claim? Let’s dive and see.

A small number of states denounce age and career together

According to Artiga, at least seven states monitor vaccination based on a combination of age and race: Michigan, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kansas, Minnesota, Washington i Vermont. (Vermont only tracks two racial categories: non-Hispanic white and a combination of black, Native, and color).

The results of some of these states show that racial disparities exist in older age groups.

In Michigan, for example, more than 50% of non-Hispanic white people aged 65 to 74 had completed their May 11 vaccination. Other racial groups: non-Hispanic black people; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; and Hispanics, all dragged by about 10 percentage points. The exception was the Native American and Alaska category, which was within 4 percentage points of whites.

And as of May 11 in Kansas, the vaccination rate for white people in this same age group was higher than for black people and the native Hawaiian / Pacific islands.

In Vermont, for those over 65, approximately 79% of people of color had received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 85% of white people at that date.

“With the exception of Vermont, which has the distinction of being the only state to address BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] populations for explicit race, are examples of states in which numbers are found no doing well in their equity efforts ” Dayna Bowen Matthew, dean of George Washington University Law School and expert on racial disparities in health care, wrote in an email.

Minnesota is one of the few states where people of color are being vaccinated at higher rates than whites, with 93% of Asians / Pacific Islanders and 87.5% of blacks / African Americans aged 65 or over. more than they have received at least one shot. compared to 81.5% of white people on May 11th.

Some states vaccinate similar percentages of their population black or Hispanic, Matthew said, but the data are indistinguishable by age groups.

In accordance with Follower of Bloomberg’s Covid-19 racial vaccine, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, and Utah have vaccinated approximately the same percentage of black Americans represented in the population of each state. Maine, Ohio, Alabama, Louisiana, and Missouri have achieved similar rates based on the Hispanic population.

KFF provides weekly updates on national and state race / ethnicity data of people who have received vaccines, which have consistently shown that blacks and Hispanics receive a lower proportion of vaccines compared to their total population share, while whites receive Share. He Weekly update of May 5th, for example, found that, based on the 42 states that share race / ethnicity data, the percentage of white people who have received at least one dose of covida vaccine (39%) was approximately 1.5 times higher than those rates of blacks (25%) and Hispanics (27%). (KHN is an editorial program independent of KFF.)

It is also important to note that data on race and ethnicity information have not been collected for many vaccinated individuals. As of May 3, the CDC reported that race and ethnicity were only known to 55% of all people who had received at least one dose of vaccine. And three states, Montana, New Hampshire and Wyoming, report no racial / ethnic data at all.

How to address the fairness of vaccines, experts say

Nneka Sederstrom, director of health equity at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, said his state has done an “excellent job” vaccinating people 65 and older, but there is still much work to be done to reach out to communities. of colors.

“We will need more direct tactics to reach‘ those who have not yet been vaccinated ’and we will help resolve any doubts due to lack of knowledge or systemic barriers,” Sederstrom wrote in an email.

It is also important to ensure that vaccines are available to primary care providers Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

“The truth of the matter is that the more vaccinators we can get, the more people are placed where they are every day, where they become a regular part of your life, such as … going to your doctor’s office. doctor to make a regular visit, that’s a winner, ”Benjamin said.

But, Dr. Uché Blackstock, founder of Advancing Health Equity, an organization that advocates for bias and racism in health care, said it would set the bar for vaccine equity success in excess of the equally proportional share of a certain ethnic and racial population receiving their vaccine doses.

“What would the success of vaccine equity look like if blacks or Hispanics were overrepresented in terms of vaccine received, as they have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” Blackstock said. So while Biden cites these statistics that do not contain data, if the evidence supports them, it would still not be enough, he said.

In fact, the CDC does describe it vaccine equity in these terms: “preferential access and administration to those most affected by COVID-19”.

Our sentence

Biden has repeatedly stated that vaccination rates among whites and people 65 and older are virtually the same, or even higher among people of color.

No national public data from the CDC or any other database has been released to support this claim.

For the few states that present data on age and race / ethnicity combined, the figures suggest that, for the most part, obvious inequalities in vaccination rates for white and white people persist. In several states, vaccine administration rates are more proportional to the percentage of Hispanic and black populations, but the data cover all age groups. National data for all age groups also show that vaccination rates for black and Hispanic people are lower than for white people.

Existing data paints a story about vaccine equity, while Biden’s words paint another.

Without data to back it up, we value Biden’s statement as false.

SOURCES:

The Associated Press, “AP Data Check: Biden Exaggerates the Number of Immunized Americans” May 3, 2021

Bloomberg News, Covid-19 Racial Gap Tracker, accessed May 5, 2021

Disease Control and Prevention Centers “Demographic characteristics of people receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the United States“, accessed May 10, 2021

Disease Control and Prevention Centers “COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage and Social Vulnerability at the County Level – United States, December 14, 2020-March 1, 2021, “March 26, 2021

Email exchange with Disease Control and Prevention Centers spokeswoman Chandra Zeikel, May 6, 2021

Email exchange with White House administration official, May 6, 2021

Email interview with Manuel Pastor, director of the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California, May 5, 2021

Email interview with Nneka Sederstrom, director of health equity at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, May 5, 2021

Email interview with Samantha Artiga, Vice President and Director of KFF’s Racial Health and Equity Policy Program, May 5-6, 2021

Kansas.gov, Demographics of COVID-19, accessed May 10, 2021

KFF, Latest COVID-19 vaccination race / ethnicity data, May 5, 2021

Michigan.gov, COVID-19 vaccine board, accessed May 10, 2021

Minnesota.gov “Vaccine data“, accessed May 10, 2021

NBC News “Biden hails the progress in vaccine equity, but some local leaders make a different picture, “May 3, 2021

Telephone / email interview with Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at George Washington University School of Law, May 6-7, 2021

Telephone interview with Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, May 6, 2021

Telephone interview with Dr. Uché Blackstock, founder of Advancing Health Equity, May 6, 2021

Vermont.gov, COVID-19 vaccine control panel, accessed May 10, 2021

White House, “President Biden’s remarks on the American Families Plan, “May 3, 2021

White House, “President Biden’s remarks on COVID-19’s response, “April 27, 2021





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