Health News Roundup

The challenge of getting a vaccine if you don’t have a ride, and more in this week’s roundup

Without a ride, many in need have no shot at COVID-19 vaccine
Jenni Bergal, Stateline, Feb. 1
While state and local governments have been busy planning for and distributing vaccines, many have left out an important piece: how to provide transportation to people who can’t get to those sites. Millions of older adults and low-income people of color who are at higher risk of contracting the virus don’t have cars, don’t drive or don’t live near public transit. Some are homebound. Some live in rural areas far from vaccination sites. “Transportation is often neglected, but it’s often one of the biggest barriers to health care,” said Caitlin Donovan, a spokesperson for the National Patient Advocate Foundation. Still, some places have found solutions.
Related: The latest tool in Connecticut to get vaccines to people, or people to vaccines: Uber, Dave Altimari, The Connecticut Mirror, Feb. 1

Older adults without family or friends lag in race to get vaccines
Judith Graham, Kaiser Health News, Feb. 1Older adults who are comfortable with computers and have internet service are getting notices of vaccine availability and can register online for appointments. Those who can’t afford broadband or don’t use computers or smartphones are likely missing out on information about vaccines and appointments. Disproportionately, these barriers appear to affect Black and Hispanic elders as well as people who are not native English speakers; older adults in low-income neighborhoods; seniors who are frail, seriously ill or homebound; and those with vision and hearing impairments. “If seniors of color and people living in poor neighborhoods can’t find a way to get vaccines, you’re going to see disparities that have surfaced during the pandemic widening,” said Abraham “Ab” Brody, an associate professor of nursing and medicine at New York University.

Race and ethnicity data missing for nearly half of coronavirus vaccine recipients, federal study finds
Akilah Johnson, The Washington Post, Feb. 1
Race and ethnicity data was missing for nearly half of all coronavirus vaccine recipients during the first month shots were available, further stymieing efforts to ensure an equitable response to a pandemic that continues to unduly burden communities of color, federal researchers reported Monday. The findings on vaccination data illustrate that a long-standing lack of information on the race and ethnicity of who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, has carried over to who has been inoculated.

To address vaccine hesitancy among Latinos, a trusted source is key
Brenda Leon, Connecticut Public, Feb. 1
A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that a general willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has gone up since December. But there’s still hesitancy; more than half of Latino adults in the survey were in no rush to get vaccinated. Liany Arroyo, director of Hartford’s health department, says many residents worry about how quickly the vaccine was developed and what long-term effects it may have. Many Latino residents also have historical reasons to be skeptical, she says. Another concern is the lack of health insurance among Latinos, even though in Connecticut anyone can receive the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of whether they have insurance coverage — and regardless of immigration status.

COVID-19 took both her father and brother as the coronavirus hit the Black community in Connecticut hard
Daniela Altimari, The Hartford Courant, Jan. 31
On top of the pain and grief over the loss of her father and brother, Gwendolyn Williams Satchell is painfully aware how the coronavirus has hit the Black community particularly hard. Compared with non-Hispanic white people, Black Connecticut residents are one and a half times more likely to contract the virus and more than twice as likely to die. Black patients are more likely to have underlying conditions that have been shown to make the virus more lethal. They also tend to be overrepresented in the types of essential jobs that increase their risk of exposure. Inequities in access to medical treatment also play a role. Numerous studies have documented the ways in which cultural assumptions, implicit bias and deeply entrenched racism harm Black patients, and now state lawmakers are looking to address the issue.