Delaware takes steps to tackle racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations

Of the doses where the recipient’s race was recorded, only 4% have been administered to Black residents in a state with a 22 percent Black population.

Nurse Kolubah Goniah is vaccinated against COVID-19

Nurse Kolubah Goniah was one of the first Delawareans to get vaccinated, but racial disparities have hampered the state's rollout. (State of Delaware)

Ask us about COVID-19: What questions do you have about the current surge?

Delaware’s COVID-19 vaccination program is expanding efforts to reach “underserved, minority communities,’’ Gov. John Carney’s office announced Tuesday.

The new push comes as the state’s data shows that of 103,791 doses administered so far, just 4% of the recipients are Black and 2% identified as Latino or Hispanic. Statewide, 22% of residents are Black and 10% Hispanic, state population figures show.

A total of 31% of vaccination records did not contain the race of the recipient, leading Carney to order providers to promptly report race and other demographic information promptly to the Division of Public Health.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

To decrease the racial disparities, the state is taking these steps:

  • Working with the Wilmington Housing Authority this week to vaccinate people age 65 and over who live in high-rise buildings as part of an effort to reach senior citizens who don’t have access to technology or have mobility challenges.
  • Sending 4,000 extra doses to pharmacies in “underserved communities,” Carney’s office said.
  • Partnering with major hospital systems and specialty care providers, including Federally Qualified Health Centers, to create vaccination events for senior citizens, “including underserved populations.”

Delaware is in Phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination program, with people age 65 and over and certain health care, education, and other frontline workers eligible.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

People 65 and over can register for the waiting list here or call 1-833-643-1715.

“Our goal remains the same: we’re working to vaccinate as many Delawareans as possible, as quickly as possible,” Carney said in a statement. “We also need to make sure we’re distributing the vaccine equitably and reaching especially those Delaware seniors who are less mobile and don’t have access to a computer or smartphone.”

Get daily updates from WHYY News!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal