Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson asks U.S. health officials for equitable vaccine distribution

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Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson has penned a letter to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices asking for communities of color to be prioritized in the upcoming distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of scientific advisers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will meet Monday to discuss how best to distribute the vaccine as well as who will get the first dosages.

“It is my sincere hope that, after healthcare workers, first responders, and the most vulnerable, you will consider making it a priority to deliver the vaccine to minority populations that have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” wrote Mayor Johnson in his letter to the committee. 

“In Dallas, 66 percent of our population is Black or Hispanic,” he continued. “We are seeing higher rates of infection among these residents, and they represent an even greater percentage of the cases requiring hospitalization. They also make up a greater percentage of the deaths caused by the coronavirus.” 

In June, Black lawmakers in Texas made similar pleas to Gov. Greg Abbott when it came to testing in communities of color. “It’s like we don’t exist,” said state Sen. Borris Miles of Houston at the time.

The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color has been widely reported both in Texas and across the U.S.

Two separate vaccines are currently pending approval and awaiting distribution. U.S health officials expect the vaccines to be approved and quickly rolled out sometime in mid-December. 

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