While the number of people who have received flu shots this year has seen an overall increase, new data has shown that when it comes to Black children that number has actually gone down.
According to NBC News, a report released on Wednesday has officials at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention somewhat alarmed. With a coronavirus vaccine on the horizon, they are hoping that this isn’t a sign of a general aversion to vaccines among Black families.
“It’s certainly a point of concern,” Dr. Ram Koppaka, an associate director in the CDC’s Immunization Services Division told NBC News. “We’ll monitor this over the coming weeks very closely.”
The data regarding flu vaccines show that a large portion of Americans are taking the advice of medical officials seriously, with a survey from early November finding that 49 percent of adults had already received the vaccine. That’s up five percent from the same time last year. It should be noted that the survey also found that a third of adults don’t plan to get the flu vaccine this year.
Manufacturers of flu vaccines plan to produce just below 200 million doses for this year’s flu season, a rather large spike from the 175 million produced last year. Healthcare officials have been pushing folks to get their flu vaccine to avoid as hospitals are already overwhelmed dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The survey conducted by the CDC found that vaccination rates have remained consistent among children from other racial backgrounds, they dropped from 44 percent last year to 33 percent this year. Koppaka said that the reason for the drop in vaccination rates is unclear but believes it only highlights the work needed to be done to build the Black community’s trust in vaccines.
I’m going to preface this next part with my standard refrain: I am just a nigga on a laptop. I don’t have all the answers, Sway.
That being said, we are in the midst of a pandemic that isn’t only a public health crisis, but an economic one too. Most of us get our healthcare through our jobs and Black people have disproportionately felt the economic blow dealt by the pandemic. If you go to any Walgreens or CVS you see the “FREE FLU SHOT” sign but you probably don’t even register the “w/most insurance,” that is written in fine print.
If you don’t have insurance and you can’t afford to pay the out of pocket cost, how exactly is one supposed to get their kids the vaccine?
Distrust among medical professionals is a real thing in the Black community, I won’t argue that. I’m just saying that perhaps looking at the world that’s staring us right in the face might provide some insight as to why something that was never a problem before suddenly has become one.