People outside of the federal guidelines that say, only certain segments of the population are the current priorities for COVID-19 vaccinations, are discovering ways to get the vaccine anyway.
The CDC currently recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine goes to people in three priority groups: essential workers, people over 65, and people 16-64 with underlying health conditions. That grouping equates to more than 200 million people, but findings show that individual states are making their own decisions concerning vaccination priority.
As of Friday, 57.5 million doses of the vaccine have been delivered around the country, which does not meet the demand. And while some Americans are volunteering to help in any way they can, the urge to jump the line is strong for many.
Daniel J. Hurst, Ph.D., and Matthew Arbo, Ph.D., wrote that problem in the American Journal of Bioethics.
“When demand for healthcare resources outpaces its supply, it is imperative to allocate resources in an equitable manner. Doing so respects the basic principle of justice,” they wrote.
The available data on the racial makeup of vaccine recipients id dismal. Among the 23 states that have reported these details, Black and Latino people received far smaller shares of the vaccine than their share of cases and deaths and compared to their share of the states’ populations.
For instance, in Mississippi, Black people make up 38% of the population and 41% of the deaths due to COVID-19, but they’ve received only 17% of the vaccinations.
“The burden of COVID infection and severe illness and death has been very unequal,” says Muriel Jean-Jacques, MD, who co-wrote an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association called “Vaccine Distribution — Equity Left Behind?”