The Arizona Department of Health Services added a new update to the COVID-19 Data Dashboard on Tuesday, providing demographic information on race, ethnicity, age and gender related to the state's vaccine distribution.
State health officials said the update tracks the total number of administered vaccine doses, including vaccines administered each day. The update also tracks Arizonans who have received their first dose and the number of those who have completed the two-dose series.
White Arizonans vaccinated 4 times higher than Hispanic or Latino Arizonans
Forty-eight percent of white Arizonans have received a COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to state data. White people make up 54.1% of the state's population.
In comparison, only 8% of Arizonans identified as Hispanic or Latino have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, but they make up 31.7% of Arizona's population.
Three percent of Native Americans have gotten a vaccine and only 1.4% of Black or African-American people in Arizona have gotten their vaccine.
However, about 40% of people who received the vaccine identified as Other Race/Unknown.
“I think it’s critically important that as the vaccine is distributed that we don’t place a color on it but that we place an opportunity to make it available for every person,” said Historic Tanner Chapel AMRC Pastor Dr. Benjamin Thomas Sr. after receiving his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine last week.
Advocates call on AZDHS to acknowledge vaccine inequities, meet communities of color where they are
Almost 32% of Arizona's population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.
“Every community is different,” said Chicanos Por La Causa Director of Community Engagement, Carlos Galindo-Elvira. “Let’s look at them as pockets of opportunity.”
Carlos Galindo-Elvira said the state needs to have a deeper understanding of barriers facing the community’s access to the vaccine, including technology, language, and transportation.
“If you don’t have access to a computer to schedule an appointment to get your first shot for COVID-19, how are you expected to show up?” said Galindo-Elvira.
During Monday’s virtual tour of State Farm’s vaccine site, Dr. Cara Christ told President Joe Biden that the state is taking advantage of the Center for Disease Control’s pharmacy program to get vaccines to hard-hit areas and community health centers.
Galindo-Elvira suggests that communities utilize federally qualified health centers like Mountain Park Health Center to access the vaccine.
“For the Latino community going to a federally qualified health center may be the best opportunity to get vaccinated because they are within your community. They know who you are."
Early demographic data may not give a full picture of vaccine distribution
The early demographic data may not give a full picture of vaccine equity, according to AZDHS Director Dr. Cara Christ.
In her blog, Christ explained that vaccine distribution and demographics are not yet align with general population demographics.
"Due to the phased approach of vaccine distribution, the demographics presented here are not yet expected to align with general population demographics," said Christ.
"For example, the distribution of age or race/ethnicity among the healthcare worker population, protective services category, and education and childcare professionals is not the same as the distribution among the general Arizona population."
A fuller picture could be achieved when the state enters phases two and three when vaccinating the general population later this year.
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