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First State works to address vaccine equity

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Delaware is trying to make progress on vaccine equity, and state officials believe their effort are paying off.


Delaware’s stated goal is fast and fair vaccine distribution, but at first minority communities were left behind.

Since January, that has changed, Vaccination numbers for Hispanics 65 and older have improved by 463%, while the number for the Black community has improved by over 541% from January through April.

By comparison, improvement for the White community is 296%.

There’s also been improvement in the 16 and older numbers since March as Hispanics have improved by 140% and the Black community its 85%.

Dr. Karyl Rattay, the director of the Delaware Division of Public Health, says the state’s intensive and sustained effort to reach underserved communities is working.

"We still know that we have a ways to go to assure that the percentage of those vaccinated in all groups are proportional to the population share," said Rattay. "But these numbers show that we have been making progress after the initial availability of vaccines showed us that extra effort was needed to reach some communities."

Rattay says the state has focused on other ways to reach vulnerable and underserved communities since February.

"Through DPH outreach and events as well as through encouraging and supporting many other vaccinators to focus on these populations, and a key way we've evaluated these efforts has been to compare at the statewide level increasing vaccinating people in different demographic groups," said Rattay. "And by that measure our focus efforts have shown progress."


State officials note walk-in appointments are available at many venues now, including many of the state's public health clinics.

Currently, over 312,000 Delawareans are considered fully vaccinated.


Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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