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NAACP President Calls For More Equitable Vaccine Distribution

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State data shows that Black Marylanders have been receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at lower rates, even while being disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Rev. Kobi Little, president of the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP, called for more equitable vaccine distribution. He spoke at a vaccine info session with local health experts on Monday afternoon. 

“The only way to end the pandemic is for us to fight the health consequences of white supremacy and structural inequity,” he said. 

As of Monday, Black residents of Maryland have received less than 15% of the doses while making up 30% of the state’s population. White residents have received about 63% of the doses. 

Little stressed that vaccine hesitancy in Black communities stems from racism in health care. He said there needs to be greater outreach to people who don’t trust the vaccine. 

“If we continue to ostracize people who are hesitant about the vaccine, we continue to drive a wedge,” Little said. “It is unfortunate that in Maryland, in this state, we have top elected officials who will hold press conferences, and shame communities for not fully embracing and adopting the vaccine. And then in the same conversation, say that we can reopen schools without a vaccine.” 

State-run mass vaccination sites are opening this week. Health officials are hoping they’ll make vaccines more accessible. 

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.
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