Black and Hispanic communities should be first in line to receive the coronavirus vaccine after the immunization is given to residents of long-term care facilities and healthcare workers, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson suggested on Monday in a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“It is my sincere hope that, after healthcare workers, first responders, and the most vulnerable, you will consider making it a priority to deliver the vaccine to minority populations that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” Johnson said.
The letter was addressed to Jose Romero, the chair of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The sentiment is echoed by Gov. Greg Abbott, whose office released a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan that included the criterion of “mitigating health inequities due to factors such as demographics, poverty, insurance status and geography.”
In his letter, Johnson mentioned that 66 percent of the Dallas population is black or Hispanic and contends that race should be taken into account when distributing the vaccine in part because black and Hispanic persons are suffering death and hospitalization at higher rates than other racial groups.
However, the mayor closed his letter by highlighting public concerns about the side effects of the vaccine.
“I also implore you and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to provide detailed information on the potential side effects of the vaccine,” Johnson said. “Recent polls suggest more than half of Americans are worried about the potential side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine and do not plan to take it when it becomes available.”
Johnson further underscored that those who will first receive the vaccine will also be the first ones exposed to any risks involved.
“It is critical that all those who are designated as eligible to receive the vaccine clearly understand the potential risks of taking it — as well as the risks of not taking it,” he said.
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