According to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, every American state is being urged to consider ethnic minorities as a "vulnerable community" when it comes to vaccine distribution.
As a result of this guidance, half of the country's states are now reportedly prioritizing black, Hispanic, and native residents over white citizens in their rollout plans.
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have all committed to give first priority to racial and ethnic, non-white communities in vaccinations.
The CDC guidance is predicated upon statistical information that finds black and Hispanic individuals are up to three times more likely to die from a COVID-19 infection than white people.
In addition to those 25 states, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Indiana have all publicly declared "fairness" or "equity" as determining factors in their prioritization plans for their vaccine supply. Those declarations mean that minority and "historically marginalized populations" are likely to be regarded as high-priority communities, even if not specifically designated by name.
Melinda Gates — wife of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, who has been intricately involved in helping fund vaccine development — has been lobbying since June for black people to be second in line behind front-line healthcare workers.
"We are seeing black men die at a disproportionate rate," Gates said in an interview with Time. "We know the way out of COVID-19 will be a vaccine, and it needs to go out equitably."