Prioritizing People With Asthma for the Covid-19 Vaccine Is a Social Justice Win
Rep. Ayanna Pressley may have tweeted it in the now-classic “How it started/How it’s going” meme style, but it’s a serious win: Massachusetts has added asthma to the coronavirus vaccine eligibility list. Just last week, Pressley was among those urging Massachusetts’ governor to do so, noting, “This is both a racial and environmental justice issue.”
This is major, in part because, as Dana Smith writes for Elemental, deprioritizing people with asthma for the Covid-19 vaccine is a racial justice issue. Smith notes the “well-established data showing that Black and Brown people have higher rates of asthma because they have been historically redlined into polluted areas.”
The reality is that the rollout of the vaccines — like the pandemic itself — has been anything but equitable, and Black and Brown people have disproportionately suffered… In the United States, Black, Latinx, and Native American people have disproportionately high rates of asthma, in large part due to higher exposure to environmental hazards. And in addition to causing asthma, even small exposures to air pollutants is associated with a 15% increase in Covid-19 death rates.
By including asthma in the vaccination phase with other preexisting conditions, people with these related risk factors — such as exposure to air pollutants and just being Black, which in and of itself is associated with a 1.5 to 3.6 times higher death rate from Covid-19 — can be better protected.
Read Smith’s whole story here:
Deprioritizing People With Asthma for the Covid-19 Vaccine Is a Racial Justice Issue
The CDC says the condition doesn’t put people at a greater risk for severe Covid-19, but there’s an equity argument to…
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