Close to 70% (68.3%) of the adult population in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. While this progress represents a marked achievement in vaccinations that has led to steep declines in COVID-19 cases and deaths, vaccination coverage—and the protections provided by it—remains uneven across the country. With growing spread of the more transmissible Delta variant, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are once again rising, largely among unvaccinated people. Persistently lower vaccination rates among Black and Hispanic people compared to their White counterparts across most states leave them at increased risk, particularly as the variant spreads.
Reaching high vaccination rates across individuals and communities will be key for achieving broad protection through a vaccine, mitigating the disproportionate impacts of the virus for people of color, and preventing widening racial health disparities going forward. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that vaccine equity is an important goal and defined equity as preferential access and administration to those who have been most affected by COVID-19.
The CDC reports demographic characteristics, including race/ethnicity, of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations at the national level. As of July 19, 2021, CDC reported that race/ethnicity was known for 58% of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Among this group, nearly two thirds were White (59%), 9% were Black, 16% were Hispanic, 6% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, and <1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, while 8% reported multiple or other race. However, CDC data also show that recent vaccinations are reaching larger shares of Hispanic, Asian, and Black populations compared to overall vaccinations. Thirty percent of vaccines administered in the past 14 days have gone to Hispanic people, 6% to Asian people, and 14% to Black people (Figure 1). These recent patterns suggest a narrowing of racial gaps in vaccinations at the national level, particularly for Hispanic and Black people, who account for a larger share of recent vaccinations compared to their share of the total population (30% vs. 17% and 13% vs. 12%, respectively). While these data provide helpful insights at a national level, to date, CDC is not publicly reporting state-level data on the racial/ethnic composition of people vaccinated.