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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Report: Vaccination rates for white Iowans 3 times higher than rates for Black Iowans

Community advocates are working to get all Iowans equitable access to the vaccine.

DES MOINES, Iowa — White Iowans are being vaccinated at a disproportionately higher rate than people of color, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation

New data shows vaccination rates for white people are over three times higher than the rates for Black people in Iowa. 

"The way that we set up vaccine distribution as well as who was qualifying for it with the different tiers has completely only added to the inequities," Fort Dodge physician Dr. Megan Srinivas said.

Let's look at the numbers, which are from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

Black people make up 4% of Iowa's population, but they've only gotten 1% of the total doses administered. 

Hispanic people make up 6% but have only gotten 2% of the shots.

White people make up 90% of Iowa's population and have gotten 95% of the shots. 

"When there are disparities, it always seems to hit the poor folk and the people of color the worst," community advocate Rev. Rob Johnson said. 

Johnson said one of the biggest problems is minority communities' access to vaccines. 

"When you have communities of color that have food deserts where there is no grocery store, where there is no Hy-Vee or Walmart to go to within walking distance of their location, you have transportation issues," Johnson said. 

People self-report their race and ethnicity when getting vaccinated.

According to the most recent state data, 15% of people didn't report their race and 20% didn't report their ethnicity.

Last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds said her team is working to ensure vaccines are distributed equitably across the state. 

"So while it's challenging to know exactly where we stand, we know absolutely that we still have work to do to reach these communities," Reynolds said at her COVID press conference last week.

Reynolds said there are plans to use targeted outreach initiatives to minorities and other vulnerable communities to make sure all Iowans have the opportunity to be vaccinated.