News from around our 50 states

Alabama

Montgomery: New statistics indicate a disproportionately small number of Black people are getting vaccinations against the coronavirus, a trend the state’s top health official said Friday shows the need to increase immunization efforts in the minority community. While demographic data compiled by the state has big gaps, with the race of tens of thousands of vaccine recipients not reported, Dr. Scott Harris said the numbers that are available show about 55% of vaccines have gone to white people so far compared to about 11% for Blacks. By comparison, Alabama’s population is about 27% Black, census figures show. Factors including hesitancy to accept the vaccine and the demographic makeup of groups that were allowed to receive vaccines during the earliest rounds could help account for the difference, Harris said. “This speaks a lot to our equity concerns. We know that African Americans are more likely to have serious illness or death from COVID-19 in Alabama. We have to make very sure we reach that community,” he said. Aside from making sure shots are available in areas where the African American population is concentrated, the state is working with organizations and leaders including pastors while planning a campaign to reduce the hesitancy of some Black people to get vaccinated, Harris said.