By Sarah Chesek, Staff Writer-
Across the United States, citizens have begun to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. However, statistics show that people of color and Latinos have been receiving the vaccination at a disproportionate rate compared to white citizens, even though their communities have been hit hardest by the virus.
CBS News reported that in Maryland, 63% of the vaccinations distributed were given to white people, while only 15 % of those vaccinated were people of color. In Maryland, people of color make up 31% of their total population.
Likewise, in Texas, Hispanics make up 40% of the population, but only nine percent were vaccinated.
Hamilton County’s Health Department Administrator Beck Barnes believes equity is very important and has been working with partners so testing can be accessible to all.
CBS also stated that people of color are the most hesitant to receive the vaccine.
“Black residents are historically some of the lowest vaccinated groups for the flu vaccine,” Barnes said.
Many students have been wondering whether the vaccine will be mandatory in order to come to campus.
UTC’s Chief Health Affairs Officer, Dr. Chris Smith ensured students that “the vaccine is not mandatory at this time,” but it should be considered for all people.
“For those who wish to get the vaccine, it is suggested when they have been notified that they are eligible, we recommend they sign up and then show up for their vaccine,” Smith said.
She also stated that UTC has applied to be a distributor of the vaccine on campus and are pending approval. Once approved, students and staff who are eligible and wish to receive the vaccine may do so.
UTC’s Public Awareness President, Kendall Robinson supported much of what Smith said about the importance of the vaccine.
“The COVID-19 vaccination is a great opportunity for us to finally get an upper hand on this global issue. If universities were to offer the vaccine, I would recommend students receive it,” Robinson said. “I think it would open up a lot more opportunity for campus life to get back to the way it was before the pandemic. Obviously, it is a choice if the students want to receive the vaccine.”