Kentucky demographics of those vaccinated show racial divide

Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 11:12 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - For the first time, we’re getting a look at the demographics of Kentuckians who have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly 445,000 people have received at least one dose. More women have had the vaccine so far than men, by about 125,000.

However, the biggest inequities are in race and ethnicity. The Black community accounts for 8.5 percent of Kentucky’s population, but only 3.7 percent of the people vaccinated so far are African-Americans.

Take a look at these graphs:

Kentucky vaccine demographics
Kentucky vaccine demographics(Office of Governor Andy Beshear)

“It needs to be closer to the 8% which is the makeup of the population,” Gov. Beshear said.

Leaders in the African-American community say the first step is admitting the gap is an issue, and the next is addressing it head on.

Rev. David Peoples with Jabez Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington says he appreciates the governor’s transparency, and suggests the best way to fill the gap is to make the vaccine more available to target demographics.

“We need to open up the flood gates so more people can take a part, but also need to be cheering on and encouragement, like me as a pastor, sharing with the community that it is safe,” Rev. Peoples said.

Hopefully opening the door to minorities that have been disproportionately more impacted by the virus, and giving them that shot of hope.

Gov. Beshear says the state needs to take additional steps to make vaccination programs more equitable, but also look at societal causes, saying minorities were underrepresented among the first to be vaccinated because they are not equally represented in the essential worker phases, such as medicine and education.

A spokesperson with the Lexington mayor’s office says they hope to copy the Mayor’s Neighborhood Mobile Testing program and take the vaccines into underserved neighborhoods.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department continues to work with an African-American pastoral group. A spokesperson says the group helps share information.

The department also has information printed in Spanish that is shared within the community.

You can click here to go to the state’s website with information on regional vaccination locations for phases 1a and 1b.

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