Vaccine Inequity in Addressing the Covid Pandemic

The Covid pandemic has demonstrated harmful injustices in the dualities created in conceiving ourselves as one and the other. Dualities of white vs. non-whites, and those with means vs. the poor result in inequalities in health care, and a number of other institutions in our society. The February 5th, 2021 episode of the Rachel Maddow show included a segment on what Maddow referred to as vaccine inequity. The Covid pandemic has demonstrated the systemic inequities in America and throughout the world in the way poor people, poor countries, non-white, and specifically Black people have gotten sick and died disproportionately compared to their white counterparts.

The recent development and roll out of the distribution of the vaccines in America once again points to the same inequities. Black people in America are receiving disproportionately less vaccinations than the rest of the population. According to a February 1st, 2021 article on Politico Magazines website, only five percent of the vaccines administered since the beginning of the rollout in December 2020 have went to Black Americans (Politico 1).

Maddow points out that racial and economic disparities have been the root causes that Blacks have less access to vaccines and are sick and dying more in this country. I agree with Maddow on the fact that because we are familiar with these disparities, we should be able to have a vaccine roll out that avoids such pitfalls. This is one of the most current examples of the fact that as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail”, that if we fall back on the status quo systems and leadership, we will continue to see the same injustices.

Before the pandemic, our health care system (just one component of this network of systemic injustice) was underserving Black Americans. Reducing the component of poverty in this country would help because Blacks are disproportionally poor. Lessoning the digital divide in America would help the situation access to technology needed to register for the vaccine. Improved access to transportation would help as people without cars are not able to take advantage of such programs as drive-through vaccinations. Maddow interviews Dr. Jerry Abraham of Los Angeles Kedren Community Health Center, who has demonstrated success in using community programs to network and provide resources to underserved populations in vaccination access.

We must and rebuild all of America’s racist intuitions, in government, health care, education, economy, to name a few. In our information and technological age, everyone needs the same access to information and technology. We must work to end poverty. These are just a few things we can do to lessen the social inequity that make events like pandemics especially horrible and tragic.

As Martin Luther King believed, “Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly” (King p.1) We are all one human race, interdependent on each other. Injustices arise in the creation and maintaining of inequalities rooted in conceiving human groups as one and the other. As Simon de Beauvoir said “Thus it is no group ever sets itself up as the One without at once setting up the Other…against itself” (Beauvoir p.1)

References; (Links to an external site.)
Beuvior, Simone de. The Second Sex Introduction. Bantum Books. 1961
King Jr. Martin Luther. Letter to Birmingham Jail. Harper San Francisco. 1994

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