Wednesday, March 17, 2021



COVID-19 has exposed deep-seated health inequities

Established disparities in American health care have been widely exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple levels. 

DeathsPacific Islander, Latino, Indigenous and Black Americans all have a COVID-19 death rate of double or more that of White and Asian Americans, who experience the lowest age-adjusted rates. 

Hospitalizations: Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) people were roughly five times higher than that of White people in 2020.

TestingTesting sites in and near predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods are likely to face greater demands than those in predominantly White areas, contributing to longer waits. There are also increased travel times to testing sites for people of color. 

VaccinationsAs of March 1, 2021, CDC data show that among US vaccinated subjects in whom race/ethnicity was known, Whites have received the lion's share of full vaccinations so far.

(CDC Data)

In Georgia, 69% of vaccinations were received by White people, while they make up 52% of the population, and in Nevada, nearly two-thirds (63%) of people who have been vaccinated are White, while they make up less than half (48%) of the total state population.


    But if you think the US is the only country plagued with such disparities, think again. It has been occurring in other parts of the world, but the criteria of privilege may not run along the same lines as in this country. Elsewhere, it's often a case of income and influence--"whom you know." In Ghana, a well-off someone I know called up eighteen of his closest relatives to instruct them to show up at the family home for a session of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations administered by a privately hired nurse, all necessary paperwork provided. 

    As early as April, 2020, Russia's elites were given first crack at the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccination

    While these reports are within countries, the world as a whole reflects the imbalances as well. In this map showing the progress of vaccinations globally from December 2020 to March 15, 2021, the gaps in vaccination are quite clear: parts of Central Asia and the continent of Africa are sadly lacking.

    In the world's battle against microbes, including SARS-COV-2, it is important to remember that no one is safe until everyone is safe. In typical shortsighted and selfish fashion, the developed countries will probably forget this. Covax is part of the collaborative effort of the WHO and Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT)-Accelerator, which brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to make distribution of vaccines equitable worldwide. It's under Covax that Ghana and other African countries have received their shipment of vaccines. Ironically, Bill Gates is still a favorite target of conspiracy lore surrounding COVID-19 in Africa and all over the world. 

    In the midst of all this inequality, alarming European trends in COVID-19 spread in the midst of vaccine inefficiencies show us that, along with the rise of virus variants, SARS-CoV-2 isn't done with us yet. 


    1. Two things continue to amaze me: how many people equate vaccination with immunisation; and how few people seem to understand the vulnerability of the all countries when some countries are not vaccinated.

    2. The disparity you reveal, Kwei, is indicative of how so much in this world tracks...largely under the radar and outside the mercurial
      attention span of most media.