Almost 1 million children ages 5 to 11 have received their first COVID-19 shot within the first week of eligibility, the Biden administration announced last week. 

But the rollout of COVID-19 shots for elementary-age children has exposed another blind spot in the nation’s efforts to address pandemic inequalities: Health systems have released little data on the racial breakdown of youth vaccinations, and community leaders fear that Black and Latino kids are falling behind.

Only a few states make public information on COVID-19 vaccinations based on race and age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also does not provide racial breakdowns.

The public health professionals believe that racial differences are caused by work-related and transportation obstacles, along with lingering resistance and information gaps. Children who don’t have reliable transportation may find it difficult to transport their parents from one place to another. Those without flexible work schedules or paid family leave may delay vaccinating their kids, and parents who do not speak English as a first language may not have access to information they need.

The breakdown of child COVID-19 vaccinations according to race in the handful of places where they are reported varies.

The rates of vaccination for white children were higher than those for Blacks in Washington, Connecticut, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. However, in New York City white children aged 13-17 are vaccinated more frequently than Black, Latino, and Asian children.

The Connecticut vaccination rate for 12-17-year-olds living in wealthy and predominantly white areas is above 80%.

In Hartford, Connecticut, 39% of children between 12 and 17 are fully vaccinated. According to November state data, 88% children of the same age live in West Hartford near the city limit.

White House officials have made equity in health a top priority. The coronavirus task team, which was created by the White House, stated last week that it has reduced the racial disparity among 194 million Americans who are currently fully vaccinated. Biden’s administration announced that it will spend nearly $800 million supporting organizations working to increase vaccine confidence in low-income communities and people of color.

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► Maine set a record high for the number of people in a hospital due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

► New York state is expanding COVID booster eligibility to those who “feel at risk.”

► A Houston hospital has temporarily suspended a doctor for spreading false information about COVID-19 to her patients and on social media.

📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 47 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 764,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global numbers: Over 253 million COVID-19 cases, and more than 5.1million deaths. More than 195 million Americans — 58.8% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘 What we’re reading: As doctors’ offices and pharmacies fill appointments fill to immunize children, parents across the country are looking forward to the freedoms their kids can enjoy after getting their shot. But the question of masking — especially in schools — still remains. 

For the most recent news, keep checking this page. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox, and join our Facebook group.

After fighting COVID-19, Florida teacher in the center of ivermectin is killed

The illness claimed the life of the teacher in Palm Beach County, who was fighting to have a hospital administer a drug that is not proven to treat her COVID-19 symptoms.

Tamara Drock (47), of Loxahatchee in Florida died on Friday from COVID complications 12 weeks after she was admitted to Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. Her husband stated that Tamara Drock had been there for treatment.

As she struggled with the disease, her husband, Ryan Drock, sued the hospital last month in an attempt to require it to administer ivermectin, a drug approved to treat conditions caused by parasitic worms but not COVID.

One of several cases across the country were closely followed to see if hospitals would be required to prescribe the drug. The drug has become popular in conservative circles and is considered a possible treatment for grave forms of the condition.

The drug, though, isn’t approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat it. The federal agency says it hasn’t proved effective against COVID-19 in pre-clinical trials.

Andrew Marra, Palm Beach Post

Contributing to The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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