New MDH data reveals Minnesotans getting COVID vaccines have been disproportionately white

The Minnesota Department of Health revealed race and ethnicity vaccine data on Friday.
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The Minnesota Department of Health released data on Friday that for the first time breaks down the state's vaccine recipients by race and ethnicity.

The data have been compiled as a result of what Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan describe as a "groundbreaking partnership" with the state's health systems.

And the first set of data, which can be found on MDH's vaccine figures site, show that recipients of COVID vaccines have been disproportionately white so far.

So far, 90.7% of Minnesotans who have received one or both vaccine doses thus far are white, despite white people representing 81.6% of the state's total population.

It's likely that this data is being skewed at least partially because the over-65 population in Minnesota, which is itself disproportionally white, have been prioritized for the vaccine.

Hispanic people, representing 4.8% of the state's population, comprise 1.5% of the total vaccines received so far, while Black people, 6% of the state's population, have received 3.5% of the shots.

Asian/Pacific Islander people comprise 5% of the state's population, but just 3% of the total, while 0.3% of multiracial people have been vaccinated despite it being 1.7% of the state's population.

American Indian people, who have been able to access the COVID vaccines through federal programs, have received 0.9% of total vaccines and represent 1% of the total state population.

Such has been the success of vaccination drives in American Indian populations, 14.8% of the state's American Indians over the age of 15 have received at least one shot. Only the white population – at 18.7% – has been vaccinated more.

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There have been increasing calls since the first vaccines went live for steps to be taken to ensure the rollout is equitable.

Minnesota's Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and Asian residents are at greater risk from COVID-19, with data showing so far they are dying at a rate 2-4 times higher than the white population, the Star Tribune reported last month.

In Friday's announcement, Flanagan said the data being shared daily by MDH will be used to "help drive improved and targeted strategies to better serve communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 over the last year, including Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, and Native communities."

Last week, Walz said the state had partnered with more than 30 "COVID-19 Community Coordinators" that will connect their communities to information regarding COVID testing and vaccination opportunities, as well as providing details to communities through different languages.

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