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health care disparities

Black Americans are getting vaccinated at levels lower than expected, state and city data shows

Black Americans are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at rates below their share of the general population, an Associated Press analysis reveals, prompting experts to note yet another example of the pandemic highlighting "racial health inequities" in the United States.

AP reviewed vaccine distribution data broken down by race from 17 states, as well as Philadelphia and Chicago. In Maryland, Black people make up 30 percent of the population, but account for only 16 percent of those vaccinated. That's not to mention the fact that 40 percent of people working in Maryland's health-care industry — a priority group — are Black.

The numbers are very similar in Chicago, where Black people make up 30 percent of the population, but only represent 15 percent of those who have been inoculated. In North Carolina, the numbers are 22 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has one of the more drastic disparities. The city's Black residents account for 40 percent of the population, but just 14 percent of vaccine recipients.

Per AP, experts believe there are several reasons that could be behind the situation, including a longstanding "distrust of the medical establishment" among the Black community stemming from "a history of discriminatory treatment," inadequate access to the vaccine in Black neighborhoods, and the fact that many vaccine sign-ups are done online, which can be a challenge for people who don't often gather information digitally. Many cities and states say they're working hard to reverse course through.

Hispanic people are also receiving vaccinations at lower rates, although AP notes their numbers are more in line with expectations because people who identify as Hispanic are younger than other Americans on average. Read more at The Associated Press.