Growing Concern About Racial Disparities in Access to COVID Vaccine

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – We’re getting a closer look at the demographic breakdown of who has gotten the COVID vaccine in Mecklenburg County.

There are growing concerns about racial disparities when it comes to access.

“It has really devastated communities that were already devastated,” says Willie Keaton, with the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice.

Keaton isn’t surprised communities of color are lagging behind when it comes to who is getting vaccinated.

“Charlotte and other places in America was already dealing with the pandemic of poverty before the pandemic of Covid-19,” Keaton says.

The Mecklenburg County Health Department has administered more than 13,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Of those, only 16 percent went to African-Americans, even though census data shows they make up nearly 32 percent of the population.

“African-Americans are dying at a faster rate, and we’re receiving the vaccination at a lower pace,” Keaton says.

A county map also shows fewer adults 65 and older in East and West Charlotte getting the vaccine.

It’s important to note, the stats don’t include shots given by Atrium or Novant.

And Health Director Gibbie Harris says frontline workers who are in the first priority group tend to skew white and female.

Still, Harris says more work is needed to ensure equity among minority groups.

“We need to see that they’re getting more of the vaccine, a higher percentage of the vaccine and that’s work that we still have left to do,” Harris says.

CATS is also now offering direct bus routes to the vaccine clinic at Bojangles’ Coliseum.

One leaves from the transportation center in Uptown and the other from the old Eastland Mall site.

The county is also going out into minority communities to give vaccines, including this weekend at the Hindu Center.