Black and Latino Americans are receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at significantly lower rates than White people, a disparity that health advocates blame on the federal government and hospitals not prioritizing equitable access.

Iran Press/America: An early look at the 17 states and two cities that have released racial breakdowns through 25 January found that Black people in all places are getting inoculated at levels below their share of the general population, in some cases significantly below.

The data came from Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia, plus two cities, Philadelphia and Chicago. The AP analysis found that whites are getting vaccinated at closer to or higher than expected levels in most of the states examined.

Black and Latino Americans are already dying of Covid-19 at three times the rate of white people and being hospitalized at a rate four times higher, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That is while they constitute an oversize percentage of the nation’s healthcare workers, who were put at the front of the line for shots when the campaign began in mid-December.

For example, in North Carolina, Black people make up 22% of the population and 26% of the healthcare workforce but only 11% of the vaccine recipients so far. White people, a category in which the state includes both Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, are 68% of the population and 82% of those vaccinated.

The gap is deeply troubling to some, given that the coronavirus has taken a disproportionate toll in severe sickness and death on Black people in the US, where the scourge has killed over 430,000 Americans. Black, Hispanic, and Native American people are dying from Covid-19 at almost three times the rate of white people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts say several factors could be driving the emerging disparity, including deep distrust of the medical establishment among Black Americans because of a history of discriminatory treatment; inadequate access to the vaccine in Black neighborhoods; and a digital divide that can make it difficult to get crucial information. Vaccination sign-ups are being done to a large degree online.