As local governments consider vaccine requirements to slow the spread of COVID, Black people could be disproportionately shut out of businesses across the country.
According to USA Today, Black people count for 15 percent of those vaccinated in the United States.
From USA Today:
Months into the nation’s unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination effort, disparities in vaccinating underserved populations have been stark, with data showing white people getting the shot at faster rates than Black and Hispanic people.
Experts say that could be changing, as fears mount amid the new case surge and grassroots vaccination efforts begin to pay off.
Black people still have some of the lowest vaccination numbers of any racial group in the U.S.
Despite the various factors that affect why communities of color are undervaccinated, such as hesitancy and inaccessibility, mandates have already been picked up by New York, Washington, and some private companies.
New York City will be the first to enact a citywide mandate beginning Monday, Aug.16, requiring people to show proof of at least one shot of a vaccine to enter businesses. Still, only 27 percent of young Black New Yorkers are vaccinated after the city focused on vaccinating older New Yorkers first.
Some think these mandates will cause quite a stir amongst communities who have historically been required to show paperwork to participate in society.
Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey was vehemently against enacting a vaccine mandate in her own city for this exact reason. “There’s a long history in this country of people needing to show their papers” she said, according to NBC News, “During slavery, post-slavery, as recent as, you know, what the immigrant population has to go through.” She has since taken back her comparison, but stands firm in her disapproval of the requirements.
Officials will continue to focus their efforts on vaccinating communities of color as the new COVID-19 Delta (and apparently the rest of the Greek alphabet) tears up the country. New York City begins enforcing the new mandate on Sept. 13, and until then they are ramping up their vaccination efforts.