March 8, 2021

Detroit says mostly Black residents are getting vaccinated – probably

As advocates question the number of coronavirus vaccines going to Black and Brown recipients across the country, officials from the City of Detroit say even though the data is incomplete, they are sure that vaccines are predominantly being administered to Black Detroiters. City officials reported Tuesday that 70 percent of its vaccine recipients have voluntarily shared racial demographic data. However, over 26,000 vaccine recipients, or about 30 percent of all vaccine recipients by Tuesday, chose not to share their race, leaving a gap of unknowns of who is receiving the coronavirus vaccine in Detroit. Dr. Herbert Smitherman, vice dean of diversity and community affairs at Wayne State University and president and CEO of Health Centers Detroit Foundation, said it’s important to recognize the cases and death rates out of Detroit compared to the rest of the state when determining how to distribute vaccines. He cited the Dying Before Their Time report and the “longitudinal, historic challenges that African Americans and older African Americans have experienced in the United States.”

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