Vaccine rollout won’t be equitable unless health care reckons with racism



New York’s Northwell Health Hospital Administers Covid Vaccines
Dr. Michelle Chester, right, rolls up the sleeve of Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, before she is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, December 14th, 2020. Lindsay was one of the first people in the United States to get a dose of the newly authorized vaccine. | Photo by Mark Lennihan / Pool / Getty Images

The pandemic has been anything but “the great equalizer” that some people called it when it started more than a year ago. Here in the US, COVID-19 has sickened and killed a disproportionate number of Black, Native American, and Latinx people. Vaccine rollout is proving to be inequitable, too. Black and Latinx elders in Los Angeles, for example, have been vaccinated at a lower rate than their white and Asian American counterparts.

Distrust in vaccines has been a challenge across the board. But Black Americans were less inclined than other racial and ethnic groups to want to get vaccinated, according to a Pew Research Center survey from December. To fix a system that isn’t fully serving Black Americans and other people of color, “There…

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