An increasing number of reports indicate that rich white people are using their wealth and prestige to secure doses of the coronavirus vaccines by traveling to Black and brown neighborhoods, where statistics show the immunizations are needed the most. The reports come as the U.S. supply of coronavirus vaccines are drying up.
In New York City, which at one point was considered to be the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., local news outlet The City reported on Tuesday that there were “so many white people” being vaccinated in the Washington Heights neighborhood that is home to mostly Dominicans. City officials have announced they expect doses of the vaccine to run out by the end of the week.
Most people weren’t even from any of the five boroughs of New York City.
Simply put, I’ve never seen so many white people in Washington Heights. 2/
— Dr.Susana Bejar MD (@DrSusanaBejar) January 24, 2021
In one egregious case outside of the U.S., a wealthy Canadian couple was privileged enough to charter a private plane to fly to get vaccinated in a part of the country where doses were being reserved for “Indigenous elders,” according to the Washington Post.
While President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday his plans to secure millions of more doses, the people being affected the most by the pandemic are being forced to go without the vaccine even though, in theory, they should have had the vaccines made available to them. Black and brown people have been dying at a rate of nearly three times their white counterparts.
And it’s not just in New York City either. Across the country where there are pockets of Black and brown populations, there are reports of a lack of access to the vaccine for those communities.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that her administration plans to increase the number of doses to the city Black and brown communities because those are the groups that have been hit the hardest there.
In Boston, the main problem is access to the vaccine for the city’s Black and brown neighborhoods. The Boston Globe found that Blacks and Latinos in Suffolk County, which includes Boston, will “more likely to have to travel farther than white residents for a coveted dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.” Like in Chicago and New York, Boston’s Black and Latino communities are affected the most by the pandemic.
It is a familiar story in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, too: “Just as low-income neighborhoods tended to get hit harder by COVID-19 spread, wealthier neighborhoods are getting their shots at a faster rate,” the Miami Herald reported.
Perhaps even worse, in Dallas, county commissioners wanted to prioritize Black communities for the vaccine, but the state of Texas said no.
The New York Times reported that the wealthy are maneuvering to get the vaccine first, but there was no guarantee they’d be successful in their efforts.
In the meantime, tens of thousands of appointments for vaccinations have been getting canceled while COVID-19 ravages the U.S. during what has been the nation’s deadliest month of the pandemic with at least 80,000 lives lost in January, and counting…