Prioritizing Asthma Would Make the Vaccine Rollout More Racially Equitable

Asthma affects Black and Brown people at higher rates but isn’t considered an eligible condition for early vaccination

Though Covid-19 affects the respiratory system, asthma is not on the list of eligible conditions for priority vaccination in many states. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with asthma “might be at an increased risk” for severe Covid-19 but not certain risk. The research reflects this, too. Nevertheless, activists and politicians argue that excluding people with asthma from priority vaccination is unjust.

That’s because Black and Brown people in the United States have disproportionately higher rates of asthma, as my colleague Dana G Smith . Black and Brown communities have been historically redlined into polluted areas, and they have higher rates of severe disease and death from Covid-19 compared to white Americans reflects this.

Communities of color “are already being vaccinated at significantly lower rates than White Americans,” she writes. “Prioritizing a respiratory illness that would make more Black and Brown people eligible for the vaccine would be one way to start rectifying an unequal system.”

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