Federal health centers administer most COVID-19 vaccines to minorities

January 13, 2022

2 minute read


Disclosures: Cole does not report any relevant financial information. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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As of July, federally qualified health centers had administered 61.4% of their COVID-19 vaccines to people of races and ethnicities other than white, researchers reported in JAMA network open.

Comparatively, in the general US population, 40% of COVID-19 vaccines were given to racial and ethnic minority groups, according to Megan B.Cole, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of health law, policy, and management and co-director of Boston University’s Medicaid Policy Lab, and colleagues.

Source: Adobe Stock.
More than 60% of people vaccinated against COVID-19 at federally licensed health centers were of races and ethnicities other than white. Source: Adobe Stock.

Cole and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study using data on COVID-19 vaccinations from January 8 to July 2 at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in the United States. They excluded FQHCs that provided data less than 80% every other week (n=234), were located in US territories (n=32), or had less than 10 vaccines administered per week (n= 22).

“FQHCs have played a critical role in enabling equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in marginalized communities that are otherwise often the least likely to receive the vaccine,” Cole said in a press release.

The study included 1,096 FQHCs serving 25.9 million people. Of these, 56% were female, 0.7% identified as Native American or Alaska Native, 2.9% as Asian, 17.5 as Black, 42% as Hispanic, 34.9% as White, and 2% as other breeds.

A total of 5,606,679 vaccinations were given to patients of known race or ethnic origin. Race and ethnicity were unknown for 18.7% of patients.

“These populations might otherwise not have easy access to a vaccination clinic or trust other types of institutions with a history of racism or that have consistently failed them,” Cole said.

As of July 2, a total of 30,852 patients identifying as Native American or Alaska Native, 618,024 Asian, 684,792 Black, 2,181,502 Hispanic and 116,683 other minorities have received the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the FQHCs.

According to the authors, the cumulative proportion of black and Hispanic patients who received a vaccine in FQHCs increased over time.

At baseline, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and white patients were more likely to receive the vaccine, while black and Hispanic patients were less likely to receive the vaccine, the authors wrote. Equity has changed over time, and as of April 16, all minority groups experienced statistical equity, with the exception of black patients, who in July had an equity ratio of 0.94 (95 CI %, 0.88-0.99).

“Persistent COVID-19 Vaccine Inequalities Among Black Communities [are] likely shaped by greater structural barriers to vaccine access, combined with medical mistrust resulting from decades of systemic racism in the medical community,” Cole said. “FQHCs can help further mitigate these factors through ongoing partnerships with community organizations, targeted outreach activities, mobile and pop-up clinics with extended hours, and providing culturally competent and linguistically appropriate information to all patients. . »

Maria J. Book