Report Shows Racial Disparity In Coronavirus Vaccine Rollout In Allegheny County

A new report revealed not everyone is getting the same opportunity for the vaccine in Allegheny County. KDKA's Chris Hoffman has more.

Video Transcript

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- A new report says not everyone is getting the same opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Allegheny County. As Chris Hoffman reports, the Black Equity Coalition says people of color are having a harder time getting it than white people.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: The Black Equity Coalition says the issues we are seeing with the vaccine distribution is a reflection of bigger problems with the health care system, and they say the vaccine is just the tip of the iceberg.

For the past year, the Black Equity Coalition has been collecting data on COVID-19's impact on communities of color. Recently, they studied the equity of vaccine distribution in Allegheny County.

FRED BROWN: Some of the planning that's being executed is planning that's based upon a middle class value system where you have access to transportation, you can get in a car, go here, do this.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: And that has some communities far behind. Fred Brown is part of the BEC. He says the pandemic has shown the inequity of health care overall.

FRED BROWN: If we don't address this now, the cost and burden is going to be greater down the road.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: According to their data, the Black community makes up about 13% of Allegheny County's population but so far has received less than 9% of vaccines. Meanwhile, white people make up 78% of the population and so far have received 86% of shots.

CHRISTOPHER CONTI: You could have a great intervention for anything, but if people aren't able to access it, then it ends up not being able to produce the impact that you hope.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: Doctor Christopher Conti is working with local health care companies to stop what's known as vaccine deserts, or areas of little to no access for shots.

CHRISTOPHER CONTI: The only way that's going to happen is if we bring the vaccine into the vaccine desert to make it a vaccine oasis.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: The BEC is now recommending gathering even more data on race and COVID-19, specifically seeing where vaccinated people live.

TIFFANY GARY-WEBB: And then we can actually more better, you know, aim at neighborhoods that don't have a large percentage of people vaccinated.

CHRIS HOFFMAN: According to the State Department of Health, providers are required to provide the race and ethnicity of people they provide the vaccine to. And the state is trying to get the vaccine into as many communities as possible as it comes in from the feds. To see the full report from the Black Equity Coalition, head on over to our website and app. Chris Hoffman, KDKA News.