Alumni Research: Lack of health services and transportation impede access to vaccine in communities of color



Covid-19, the illness caused by the novel virus, has killed 1 out of every 645 Black Americans in the past year. But of the 13 million people who received the coronavirus vaccine during the first month shots were available, just 5 percent were Black, limited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. Those figures also show that Latinos, another community disproportionately affected by covid-19, are underrepresented in getting shots. Race and ethnicity data was missing for nearly half of all coronavirus recipients during that time.

Researchers know that inadequate health-care infrastructure, including a lack of pharmacies, is one of the barriers.

Doctoral alumna Inma Hernandez (HPM '16) with researchers at Pitt and West Health Policy Center said not enough attention has been paid to gaps in the health-care system when addressing vaccine uptake in vulnerable populations. The researchers applauded the decision by the Biden administration to use community pharmacies as vaccine access points — they tend to be open nights, weekends and holidays, and have parking lots, capacity and are trusted. 

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