Michigan to report racial demographics on vaccine dashboard
Michigan will begin to add the racial demographics of COVID-19 vaccine recipients to it’s vaccine dashboard this week. The move comes as a part of the state’s larger racial equity effort in handling the pandemic. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the change on Tuesday.
According to data released by the MDHHS as of Feb. 22, more than 40% of Michiganders who had received the vaccine so far were white. No other group accounts for more than 4% of the recorded vaccine’s distributed, though racial data for 43% of distributed doses is unknown.
Dr. Joneigh Khladun, chief medical officer of the MDHHS and member of the Joe Biden administration’s COVID-19 equity taskforce, said in a release that reporting of this data is key to the state’s ability to find an equitable response to the pandemic:
“Ensuring those who are most vulnerable are protected by the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a high priority for Michigan. Black and Brown communities have been disproportionately affected by the virus and improving the race and ethnicity data being collected for vaccinations is critical for ensuring the equitable administration of the vaccine. We will use this data to continue to drive our strategy towards making sure everyone has equitable access to the vaccines.”
Inequities in vaccine distribution have become an issue for health departments across the country. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Black Americans are disproportionately less likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine so far compared to their white peers. While some of the disparity may be a result of white people being overrepresented in populations eligible for the vaccine so far, such as medical professionals, many have also pointed to a lack of resources being invested in vaccine efforts in black communities.
Michigan received an $8.3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA] earlier this month. The funding will be put towards information campaigns regarding COVID-19 prevention efforts and vaccine efforts in the state.
Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.
A week later, the MDHHS adjusted their vaccine allocation to include federally qualified health centers across the state that service traditionally underserved communities.
Currently, health care workers, first responders, long term care facility residents and staff, prison staff, agricultural workers, food processing employees and mortuary service workers are eligible to be vaccinated in Michigan.
Michigan has been allocated 2.6 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the federal government. More than 2 million doses, almost 80% of the total allocation, have been administered so far. The state is one of nine in the country that have distributed more than 2 million doses.