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Racial disparities seen within monkeypox vaccine rollout

Of all the recipients of the monkeypox vaccine, a little more than 77% are white or Caucasian.

DENVER, Colorado — In Colorado, much of the vaccine disparities the state experienced during COVID are once again occurring as health leaders work to provide vaccinations for monkeypox. 

As of right now, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has been vaccinating those who are eligible or considered 'high risk' for contracting monkeypox.

There are at least 79 cases of monkeypox in Colorado, according to CDPHE data.

Despite the outreach efforts, white Coloradans overwhelmingly received the vaccine before other demographics. Population estimates from Colorado's demographer show the state is 65% white. But, 77% of the vaccine went to white residents, according to CDPHE data obtained by 9Wants to Know. 

Even with the Hispanic and Latino populations accounting for 22% of the population of Colorado, they only account for 9.7% of the vaccine recipients.

African American and Black Coloradans did account for a more equitable distribution. Those who identify as Black or African American account for 4% of the population and 3.7% of the entire vaccine rollout. The same can be said for those who identify with more than one race and are not Hispanic. About 4.1% of the vaccine went to that population and 4.5% of Coloradans fit the same description.

Other minority groups trailing their white counterparts include:

  • Asian - Non-Hispanic: 2.7% of vaccine recipients.  
    • Colorado population is 3.5% Asian/Pacific Islander.
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: 0.3% of vaccine recipients.     
    • Colorado population is 0.6% American Indian or Alaskan Native.
  • Unknown race and ethnicity: 2.3% of vaccine recipients.

"This is the continued fight that we're in right (now) to create equitable access to health care across all areas of Disease Control. We know that this is systemic. We know that this has been going on for hundreds of years and so we really are working hard," said Brandy Emily, Health Equity Branch Chief with CDPHE. 

CDHPE continues to work to use outreach efforts at events. They are also working hand-in-hand with partner organizations to create greater access.

"(The) goal is always to have our communities of color and those that are underrepresented and have been historically underserved to have those numbers equal those of the general population and those of the white Coloradans. We never like to see disparities. So we would look and hope for immediate change," said Emily.

According to CDPHE, 1,902 doses of the Jynneos vaccine were administered in the state as of Aug. 2. Paul Galloway, a CDPHE spokesman, said in an email that the federal government gave the state agency 6,205 doses of the vaccine that they are "working hard to quickly administer and distribute."


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