COVID-19 Justice

As vaccines roll out, data on who’s getting them is scarce

The state isn't publishing data on who is being vaccinated, and that may be leading to unequitable access.

By many accounts, Michigan’s rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine is going well. As of Sunday, more than a million doses had made it into the arms of Michigan residents.

But who’s arms are they? State health department data doesn’t have much to say on the subject. And that may be leading to unequal access to the vaccines in the state.

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The state’s Vaccine Dashboard shows a lot of different data: The majority of vaccine recipients are women. Nearly a third of recipients are over age 65. More people are getting the Moderna vaccine in rural areas.

But there’s one data point that is noticeably absent: Vaccine recipients’ race.

Advocates say that data is important because of how asymmetrically COVID-19 has afflicted minority communities.

There is some data that gives a hint of how vaccines are being distributed, and the results aren’t promising.

Bridge Michigan reports that the Detroit area has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in the state. Just 3% of the population has been vaccinated so far. The rates are similar in Genesee County, where just 6% have been vaccinated.

Both counties’ numbers are below the state average of 8% vaccination. And both counties are majority Black.

That suggests that vaccines aren’t making it out to Black people at the same rate as other groups despite how much harder the virus has hit that population.

State health officials told Bridge Michigan they collect that data. So far they have chosen not to make it public.

You can read the full story here.

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