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Rod Watson: Why do Blacks still lag on vaccine? Reasons are ‘crazy’

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While pop-up clinics like this one at St. John Baptist Church in Buffalo made it easy to get the Covid-19 vaccine, not enough African Americans are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Urban Affairs Editor/Columnist

I write a weekly column, most often about socioeconomic and political issues affecting people of color and the disadvantaged in Western New York.


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When I heard the number on a radio show, it stopped me in my tracks.

In fact, it sounded too bad to possibly be true.

Fortunately, it was.

But that doesn’t mean the correct number when it comes to African Americans who’ve gotten the Covid-19 vaccine is all that much better.

Despite months of being inundated with information about comorbidities and the underlying socioeconomic disparities that make Blacks much more susceptible to bad outcomes, African Americans still are not getting Covid-19 vaccines at rates commensurate with their share of the population.

In Erie County, for instance, while African Americans make up 13.1% of the total population of those 15 and older, they make up only 9.4% of those who’ve gotten at least one vaccine dose, according to the state’s Vaccine Demographic Data website as of the beginning of the week.

Whites, on the other hand, account for 83.6% of those with at least one dose, slightly higher than their 81.1% share of the population; while those of Asian descent make up 5.9% of those who’ve gotten a jab, outpacing their 3.6% share of the county population. Hispanics make up 4.9% of those who’ve gotten at least one dose, about on par with their 5.0% share of the county population, according to the state data.

Two women who got their Covid -19 Vaccinations today talk about it, and why they waited to get the shot.

While the difference between 9.4% and 13.1% among African Americans may not sound like much, it equates to about 18,725 more........

© The Buffalo News

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