State GOP senators want to remove race and poverty as factors in vaccine distribution plans

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Legislative Republicans in Lansing want to stop the state from considering factors like race and poverty when deciding how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.

Right now, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services makes decisions about vaccine distribution in part using a “social vulnerability index,” which takes into account factors like poverty, unemployment, minority status, access to transportation, and high-density housing. The goal is to increase vaccine access in high-risk communities to better slow the spread of COVID-19.

Republicans in the State Senate included a provision in a $2 billion coronavirus relief funding plan approved Thursday that would remove those considerations. They say race and socioeconomic status should not be factors in how the state distributes the vaccine.

Democrats called that provision “unconscionable.” The legislation is now headed to the State House of Representatives.

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