By Ashley Moss
Ahead of the emergency meeting with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on December 1st about the COVID-19 vaccine, Mayor Eric Johnson sent a letter to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices asking for the booster to be made available to some of the hardest hit populations in Dallas – communities of color.
According to the United States Census Bureau’s 2018 estimates, Blacks and Hispanics make up more than 65 percent of the city’s population’s 1.4 million people. The DFW region currently accounts for about 25 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Texas. The mayor cited the higher rates of infection, a lack of access to quality healthcare and a greater prevalence of high-risk health factors among Blacks and Hispanics to back his recommendation.
“It is my sincere hope that, after healthcare workers, first responders, and the most vulnerable, you will consider making it a priority to deliver the vaccine to minority populations that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Mayor Johnson in his letter to the Chairman. “Many of our essential workers are also people of color, which likely helps drive the higher infection rates among Black and Hispanic families.”
“The City of Dallas is not unique in seeing these disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on lives and livelihoods in our underserved communities.”
Following Tuesday’s meeting, the C.D.C. recommended that long term care residents and healthcare workers get the vaccine first. Nursing home COVID-19 data reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services indicated more than 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents, with nearly 170,000 additional cases suspected.
According to the Texas State Department of Health and Human Services, a vaccine will be in limited supply after it is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration. The state expects to receive regular allotments of the vaccine from the federal government while the supply ramps up. As more doses become available, providers will be authorized to immunize Texans who choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.