County proposes equity plan to vaccinate minority communities
March 11, 2021
With the new COVID-19 vaccine in effect, Montgomery County officials have begun to turn their attention to minority communities that have been affected most by the coronavirus. County officials have met to discuss a plan to increase vaccinations in minority communities that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
In the age group of 75 years and older, 64 percent of COVID-19 cases come from minority communities: 40 percent Hispanic, 19 percent Black or African American, and 5 percent Asian or Pacific Islander. However, of 230,000 people pre registered to get vaccines, minorities only make up 26 percent: 6 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Black or African American, and 14 percent Asian or Pacific Islander. This wide gap brought up the plan of a priority ZIP code system to identify and vaccinate minorities communities.
The priority ZIP code system allows the county health department to set aside 25 percent of vaccine doses for those in Phase 1A, which includes health care workers, nursing home residents and staff members, first responders, and other specific essential workers. The remaining 75 percent will be used to vaccinate those 75 years and older.
However, of the vaccinations for the elderly, those who live in high-risk areas will be identified and prioritized using case trends in the past 90 days, death rates by ethnicity and race, and death rates for residents not living in nursing homes. These “high-impact ZIP codes” will be constantly changing along with where the virus is spreading, allowing us to prevent further spread and lower case rates.
Freshman Michelle Yuen spoke on why certain members of her family have gotten or have been pre-registered to get the vaccine. “My cousin works in the ICU in New York and she’s already been vaccinated, so all of my family who is or can be at risk have been preregistered to get a vaccine,” freshman Michelle Yuen said.
On the other hand, freshman Shriya Kalluri, spoke of why none of her family members had pre-registered. “We’ve talked about it a bit, but not much, especially since there are other groups that need it more,” Kalluri said. Kalluri expressed how nobody in her family was at high risk and how she would rather give the opportunity to people that are.
The COVID-19 equity plan to vaccinate minority communities will set aside a portion of vaccines to ensure that underrepresented communities have the chance to be vaccinated.