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President Biden announced last Thursday that the U.S. government will require private companies of over 100 people to require its workforce to either be vaccinated or produce weekly COVID tests, Biden’s vaccine mandate has awakened a significant amount of resistance, with many calling the measure unconstitutional. Moreover, the mandate could potentially disproportionally hurt minorities the most.
Although much media attention has been dedicated to the growing partisan divide in the issue of vaccine hesitance, which has certainly been an important challenge to America’s vaccination rollout, there has been far less public attention to the growing vaccination racial gap between White and Black Americans.
While White Americans represent the largest number of people that are unvaccinated, according to data provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) 57% of unvaccinated adults are white, both black Americans and Hispanics are far more likely to not be vaccinated than White Americans. Taking into account that Biden’s vaccine mandate could potentially leave unvaccinated Americans without a job, it is worth noting how could this mandate disproportionally affect minority communities throughout America.
This point has been brought out before, with the mayor of the city of Bostin comparing vaccine mandates last month with birtherism and oppressive regulations imposed on Black Americans during the slavery era. An article published in Newsweek a few days ago also made a similar point, highlighting that draconian vaccine mandates would hurt racially diverse communities the most.
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Even the New York Times published a piece reporting the significant amount of mistrust that exists among Black Americans regarding vaccination. The article by the Times explained that young black new yorkers have been far more vaccine-hesitant than fellow new yorkers from different ethnic or racial backgrounds, with a significant number of black Americans telling the NYT that a lack of trust in the government has played a significant role in their decision not to get vaccinated.
Data shows that Biden’s Vaccine Mandate would disproportianlly hurt minorities
According to data provided by the CDC, while 40.1% of White Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, only 33.9% of Black Americans have done the same. The data is also very similar when taking into account Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 37.8% of White Americans having received both doses, while only 29.9% of African Americans have done the same.
Data provided by the KFF also presents a similar picture, with data collected from 42 states, that both black and Hispanics are far less likely to be vaccinated than White Americans. According to the survey, 52% of White Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while only 43% of Black Americans have done the same. Hispanics are also less likely to be vaccinated, although by a smaller margin with 48% of Latinos reporting to have received a dose of the COVID vaccine.
The KFF data also shows that the vaccination gap between Whites and Blacks varies significantly between various states, with some states having a higher racial gap between Whites and African Americans. For example, states like California, New York, and Florida have a gap that surpasses the 10% mark between vaccinated Whites and African Americans. In a majority of the states where the KFF collected data, the White population reported higher vaccination rates than African Americans and Hispanics.
Although the percentage of Hispanics and blacks that have been vaccinated has increased significantly over the last few months, with both Hispanic and Black vaccination rates increasing more than 10 points over the last three months (according to KFF data), the number remains below the 50-point threshold.
Democrats and many in the media have constantly argued that many pieces of legislation pushed by the GOP (like new voting legislation) are specifically targeted to disproportionally affect minorities. The New York Times publishing an article arguing that Georgia’s contested electoral bill would have an “outside impact” on African Americans. Joe Biden amped this type of rhetoric, calling the legislation “Jim Crow 2.0”.
Liberals have also argued that requiring voter ID would disproportionately affect black Americans, despite there is a lack of scientific consensus on that claim. It is puzzling then that a Democratic administration is willing to impose a policy that would affect minorities the most.
Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student from the University of South Florida. He worked as a congressional intern to Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) from January to May 2020. He also is the head of international analysis at Politiks // Daniel es un estudiante de Cs Políticas y Economía en la Universidad del Sur de la Florida. Trabajo como pasante legislativo para el Representate Gus Bilirakis (FL-12) desde enero hasta mayo del 2020. Daniel también es el jefe de análisis internacional de Politiks.