As noted in previous analysis, preventing racial disparities in the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines will be important to help mitigate the disproportionate impacts of the virus for people of color and prevent widening racial health disparities going forward. Moreover, reaching high vaccination rates across individuals and communities will be key for achieving broader population immunity through a vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at the national level. As of February 16, 2021, they showed that race/ethnicity was known for just over half (55%) of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among this group, nearly two thirds were White (63%), 9% were Hispanic, 6% were Black, 5% were Asian, 2% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and <1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, while nearly 14% reported multiple or other race. However, to date, CDC is not providing state-level demographic data for people vaccinated.
To help provide greater insight into who is receiving the vaccine and whether some groups are facing disparities in vaccination, KFF is collecting and analyzing state-reported data on COVID-19 vaccinations by race/ethnicity. Figure 1 provides data on COVID-19 vaccinations, cases, and deaths by race/ethnicity as of February 16, 2021. The data also show the distribution of the total population by race/ethnicity as of 2019.
Across the 34 states reporting data on vaccinations by race/ethnicity, there is a largely consistent pattern of Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population. For example, in Texas, 20% of vaccinations have gone to Hispanic people, while they account for 42% of cases, 47% of deaths, and 40% of the total population in the state. Similarly, in Mississippi, Black people have received 22% of vaccinations, while they make up 38% of cases, 40% of deaths, and 38% of the total population in the state.
In most states, the share of vaccinations among Asian people was similar to or higher than their share of cases and deaths, although in some states it was lower. The share of vaccinations among Asian people was similar to their share of the total population in most states; in cases where there were differences, they were generally small.
White people received a higher share of vaccinations compared to their share of cases and deaths and their share of the total population in most states reporting data.
New in this data update, we also calculate vaccination rates by race/ethnicity for the 27 states that report racial/ethnic data based on total people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. (States that report race/ethnicity based on total doses administered are excluded this analysis.) Table 1 shows the percent of the total population in each racial/ethnic group who have been vaccinated in each of these states and the total across 26 of these states. (North Dakota is not included in the total because data on underlying counts of people vaccinated are not available.)
Overall, among these states, the vaccination rate among White people is over three times higher than the rate for Hispanic people (10% vs 3%) and twice as high as the rate for Black people (10% vs. 5%). White people have a higher vaccination rate compared to Hispanic and Black people in all reporting states, but the size of these differences varies widely across states. The vaccination rate for Asian people is closer to the rate for White people in most reporting states, although they are less likely to have been vaccinated in most reporting states.
|Total (26 states)||10%||5%||3%||8%|
|NOTES: *Vaccination data for Pennsylvania excludes data for Philadelphia due to differences in reporting. **North Dakota reports vaccination rates by race/ethnicity but is not included in the total across states because underlying data on number of people vaccinated are not available. Oregon is excluded because its racial categories are not mutually exclusive. NR indicates data not reported. Data may not be comparable across states due to differences in reporting periods and racial/ethnic classifications.
SOURCE: Vaccination data based on KFF analysis of publicly available data on state websites; total population data used to calculate rates based on KFF analysis of 2019 American Community Survey data.
Data for American Indian and Alaska Native people and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander people are not reported here due to data limitations that limit comparisons to cases, deaths, and the total population at the state level. However, complete data on vaccinations by race/ethnicity as well as the shares of vaccinations with missing race/ethnicity data among reporting states are available through the COVID-19 State Data and Policy Actions tracker.
Together, these data raise concerns about disparities in vaccination but are also subject to gaps, limitations, and inconsistencies that limit the ability to compare data across states and draw strong conclusions. The data are still early, with vaccinations not yet broadly available to the public in many areas. Moreover, some states have high shares of vaccination data with unknown race/ethnicity and/or reporting “other or multiple races.” Further, 18 states and the District of Columbia are not yet reporting vaccinations by race/ethnicity. Comprehensive standardized data across states will be vital to monitor and ensure equitable access to and take up of the vaccine.
KFF will be continuing to update these data on a regular basis going forward.