The Black COVID-19 Equity Coalition is a group of physicians, researchers, epidemiologists, public health and health care practitioners, social scientists, community funders, and government officials concerned about addressing COVID-19 in vulnerable populations.
The coalition includes a few Pitt faculty members: EPI's Tiffany Gary-Webb, associate dean for diversity and inclusion and associate director of the Center for Health Equity, Noble Maseru, public health practice faculty, former director of the Center for Health Equity, and director of social justice, racial equity, and faculty engagement, Schools of the Health Sciences, EPI's Dara Mendez, interim director, Center for Health Equity, and Bob Gradeck, University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research.
Though they've been working since long before vaccines were available - for 57 weeks - the Black Equity Coaltion recently released a report on equity in vaccine distribution in Allegheny County, Missing our Shot: COVID-19 Vaccine Equity in Allegheny County.
"This particular report...is focused on data related to vaccine distribution, understanding the disparities in distribution so far and making recommendations on what we can do, not only on data infrastructure issues but how we can use data to understand where to distribute the vaccine in an equitable way," said EPI's Tiffany Gary-Webb, coalition member.
Gary-Webb joined Fred Brown recently for an interivew with KDKA's Chris Hoffman and highlighted the main points of the report.
Watch the KDKA segment from April 1
"When you break the data down by population," said Gary-Webb, "the white population is getting more access." The reasons for that are multiple. The age criteria was an issue, particularly at the begining of the vaccine distribution when it was originally 75 and older, eventually reduced to 65 and older. There are simply fewer Black people in those age categories. Additionally, many of the Black populations have higher incidence of pre-existing conditions that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 and Allegheny County was not vaccinating high-risk conditions until the end of March. Gary-Webb also talked about the location of vaccine distribution sites, often outsid of the city.
Watch the full interview