Immunizations and Black America: A Disparity Gap in Access and Distribution Plus a Healthy Mistrust
Routine immunizations have been shown to be one of the best ways to protect your health. Not only do they stop the spread of these contagious diseases, but they also protect those around you. When you get vaccinated, you are also protecting the lives of those in your community.
Yet Black Americans are significantly more likely to be affected by vaccine-preventable diseases. A simple example: the flu shot. Black adults 65 and over are 10% less likely to receive the vaccination, even though Black seniors are at higher risk for severe flu and even less likely to get the more powerful, higher-dose vaccine.
Black toddlers were 5% less likely to be fully immunized pre-COVID pandemic, and Black adults were less likely to be up-to-date on their vaccinations than their White counterparts, like for tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, and several others. White Americans were also 2.5 times more likely to have been immunized for shingles than Black Americans.
Every year there are 18 million vaccine-preventable deaths in America. Most routine childhood vaccines are between 90 to 99% effective in preventing disease. If vaccinated people do end up contracting the disease, the symptoms tend to be less serious than they are in a person who never received the vaccine. One of the best ways to protect your health and the health of your family is to stay current on immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccinations.
And the best way to stay current on immunizations is to be informed. Make sure to check these CDC immunization schedules and stay on top of regular wellness check-ups — for both your children and yourself. For older adults, help them get the flu shot (it’s free at some pharmacies like Walgreen’s and CVS!) and the new Shingles 2-shot vaccine.
CDC Information & Schedules: Information on Children & Immunizations | Vaccine Schedule (Birth – 6 Years) | Vaccine Schedule (7 – 18 Years) | Let’s Play Catch-Up on Routine Vaccines | Adult Immunization Schedule A19+