Health Disparities in the Context of COVID-19
Health disparities have persisted as a major challenge across the U.S. healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic has only magnified and exacerbated this issue, with an increasingly large body of research demonstrating that there is mounting evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.1
- Hospitalizations from COVID-19 among Black or African Americans are more than 2.5 times that of White, Non-Hispanic persons.
- Hispanic and Latino Communities face a death rate more than two times more than White, Non-Hispanic communities.
- American Indian and Alaskan Native communities, as compared to White, Non-Hispanic communities, suffer the worst rates of infection, hospitalization, and deaths among all race/ethnicity categories.The pandemic has only widened existing health disparities and social inequities that have been driven by racial discrimination, inequality and social determinants that are influenced more by zip code than genetic code. To that end, building trust and confidence, and ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across disproportionately impacted communities must be a top priority.
Equitable access and acceptance of vaccines requires acknowledgement of the health disparities that persist and have been exacerbated by COVID-19, along with meaningful engagement and dialogue across diverse communities that have been most harmed.
1 CDC – Risk for COVID-19 Infection, Hospitalization, and Death By Race/Ethnicity (Updated 11/22/21)
2 Racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination coverage among adult populations