COVID-19 Vaccine Administration, by Race and Ethnicity - North Carolina, December 14, 2020-April 6, 2021.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021 Jul 16; 70(28):991-996.MM
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) and Hispanic persons in the United States (1,2). In North Carolina during January-September 2020, deaths from COVID-19 were 1.6 times higher among Black persons than among non-Hispanic White persons (3), and the rate of COVID-19 cases among Hispanic persons was 2.3 times higher than that among non-Hispanic persons (4). During December 14, 2020-April 6, 2021, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) monitored the proportion of Black and Hispanic persons* aged ≥16 years who received COVID-19 vaccinations, relative to the population proportions of these groups. On January 14, 2021, NCDHHS implemented a multipronged strategy to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations among Black and Hispanic persons. This included mapping communities with larger population proportions of persons aged ≥65 years among these groups, increasing vaccine allocations to providers serving these communities, setting expectations that the share of vaccines administered to Black and Hispanic persons matched or exceeded population proportions, and facilitating community partnerships. From December 14, 2020-January 3, 2021 to March 29-April 6, 2021, the proportion of vaccines administered to Black persons increased from 9.2% to 18.7%, and the proportion administered to Hispanic persons increased from 3.9% to 9.9%, approaching the population proportion aged ≥16 years of these groups (22.3% and 8.0%, respectively). Vaccinating communities most affected by COVID-19 is a national priority (5). Public health officials could use U.S. Census tract-level mapping to guide vaccine allocation, promote shared accountability for equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines with vaccine providers through data sharing, and facilitate community partnerships to support vaccine access and promote equity in vaccine uptake.