This month, the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine for the Novel Coronavirus released its “Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine” Report that was commissioned by the National Institute of Health and the CDC.
This report has significant implications for Black Americans and could (should) be used as a “checklist” that minority health professionals can use to advocate for, and monitor, state and local decisions and actions regarding COVID vaccine distribution.
The report offers a framework for equitable allocation of the COVID-19 vaccine that is built upon popular principles and recognizes the distinctive characteristics of COVID-19 disease, including:
- Rates of infection
- Modes of transmission
- Groups and individuals most susceptible to infection
- Varying rates of severe illness and death among those groups
The Report contains the following specific elements that will be of relevance to African American health professionals:
An unambiguous declaration of the importance of HEALTH EQUITY in framing vaccine allocation decisions.
In the United States and worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the pervasive impacts of social and structural inequities in society. COVID-19 is having a disproportionate impact on people who are already disadvantaged by virtue of their race and ethnicity, age, health status, residence, occupation, socioeconomic condition, or other contributing factors.
At a moment when racial inequality and discrimination are at the center of national conversations in the United States, and a well-established source of poor health outcomes as well as the legacy of medical experimentation, these considerations must be a critical component of COVID-19 vaccine allocation.
The report further states that “current evidence has shown how COVID-19 disproportionately affects particular racial and ethnic minority groups.
CDC has compiled data by race and ethnicity on the rates of COVID-19 cases, age-adjusted hospitalizations, and death.
Compared to White, non-Hispanic person, black or African American (non-Hispanic) persons had a case rate that was 2.6 times higher, a hospitalization rate that was 4.7 times higher, and a death rate that was 2.1 times higher.
The Report highlights key lessons learned from prior mass