Community leaders working to address vaccine inequality

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)— Nearly two months after the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Michigan, there is new data showing the race breakdown of who is getting vaccinated.

It’s not clear how equitable or unequitable the state’s vaccine rollout has beenbecause nearly 44 percent of the data is missing.

But the numbers we have now show inequality says Debra Furr-Holden, a member of the state’s task force on racial disparities and director of the Flint Center for Health Equity Solutions.

“What we’ve witnessed is what I call the impact of privilege, people who can have managed to jockey their way to the front of the line,” she said.

Communities typically underserved are receiving the vaccines at lower rates then their white counterparts. For community leader and associate pastor at Central Church of the Nazarene in Flint, Todd Womack, the problem is a result of systemic racism.

“Most recently the water disaster…people were like hey can we trust the water and leadership was like yes, but we found out that wasn’t the case,” Womack said. “So it’s one more trauma. one more crisis that damages the relationship between community and leadership.”

And for some groups there isn’t any data at all. Linda Delgado-Kipp, president of the Lansing Latino Health Alliance, says she finds the lack of data alarming.

“This has always been a concern for us because we feel that that data is important to find out where the constituency is at regarding their overall health,” she said.

Furr-Holden says to move forward actions need to be backed my more than just words.
“Good will is not enough,” Furr-Holden said. “We need goodwill. We need legislation and we need a requirement that people not only attempt to get it equitable, but that they demonstrate that they are,” she said.

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