Vaccination events 2-13-2021

Amanda Pierce prepares Coleen VanDonselaar's arm for a COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Kaiser Permanente clinic in Loveland, Colorado Feb. 13, 2021.

In the first two months of the state’s effort to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, data tracking the progress has shown Black and Hispanic Coloradans lagging behind white Coloradans, and newly released, more granular information confirm the trend, but also reveal that the wealthiest parts of the state are outpacing the poorest areas by about 30%.

A Gazette analysis of ZIP code-level vaccination data, provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in response to Colorado Open Records Act requests illustrates again how the health care system favors the already better off.

In areas of the state with a median household income above $80,000 — the wealthiest quarter of the state’s ZIP codes — more than 20% of residents have received a first or second dose of the coronavirus vaccination. But in areas where median incomes are below $40,500 — the bottom quarter of the state’s ZIP codes — less than 15% have been immunized with either a first or second dose.

In the Northfield and Central Park areas of northeast Denver, which have some of the highest median household incomes in the state and relatively few Hispanic and Black residents compared to the Denver metro area, 25% of the population has received a first or second dose of the vaccine.

But in central Pueblo, where the majority of the population is Black and Hispanic and the median household income is less than a quarter of that in Northfield and Central Park, 11% of residents have received either a first or second dose.

The same pattern has shown up in other states where similar vaccination data has been released.

In California, Florida, Arizona and New York, where public health agencies have also begun providing ZIP code-level data, immunizations are flowing more to wealthy and white areas, despite the global pandemic’s outsized effect on working class and minority residents.

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