Young people of color lag behind getting COVID boosters

March 8, 2022

Young people of color are not getting booster shots for COVID vaccination at the same rate as young white people, USA Today reported.

That alarms the federal health authorities. In an effort to close the gap, the Biden administration plans to turn to churches and health centers for help, according to USA Today.

“We need to do better and we recognize all of that with equality in boosters,” said Anthony Fauci, MD, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden. “Equity will remain an important part of all our plans.”

The plan to get more youths of color vaccinated with booster doses is part of the latest White House pandemic strategy that Biden discussed in his March 2 State of the Union address.

Only 30.4% of blacks and 37.7% of Hispanics who are 18-49 years old have been fully vaccinated and boosted, compared to 49.5% of whites in that age group, the US Centers for Disease Control says and Prevention. Among the over-65s, the differences between demographic groups are much smaller.

Cameron Webb, a senior policy advisor for equality with the White House’s COVID-19 Response Team, said youths of color are hesitant to get boosters because of complacency, lack of convenience and concerns about effectiveness and safety, USA Today said.

“I think for younger individuals who have seen so much COVID around their peers and in their communities, the idea of ​​the risk of hospitalization and death in the younger age bracket, it doesn’t rise to the same level,” Webb said.

Webb noted that many young people were recently infected during the Omicron wave.

“They ask the question, ‘Well, if I just got infected, do I need a booster?'” Webb said. “And as Dr. Fauci will tell you, as I will tell you, the answer is yes.”

The White House plans to seek help from medical providers, community groups and faith-based groups, USA Today said. Those groups have been used during the pandemic to promote vaccines among minority groups.

But black communities still mistrust the federal government on many levels, including vaccines, Melissa Clarke, MD told USA Today. Clarke is CEO of the BHE Group, a health literacy organization, and a former assistant dean of Howard University College of Medicine.

“It’s still hard for a lot of black people to understand that something can come out of the government that’s good that isn’t meant to harm them,” she said.

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