Vaccination data reveals disparities between regions and races

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As of June 14, King County was more than on track to meet its goal of 70% immunization coverage for all people over 16 by June 30.

At 69.2%, the county is only 15,000 complete COVID-19 vaccinations from reaching the 70% target. But the data also shows racial and regional disparities between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.

For South King County, the largest unnamed region in Seattle, only 61% of the 605,000 people who live there are vaccinated. All other areas of King County are now over 70 percent well vaccinated and have all been there since before June.

With 55,000 people needed to reach the 70% goal, South King County is not expected to meet the goal until July 27.

When immunization data is examined based on racial demographics, it can be seen that certain ethnic groups in King County have collectively exceeded the 70 percent threshold in all areas of the county. This is the case with Native American and Asian populations.

However, other minority groups, such as the Latin American and African American populations, are disproportionately under-vaccinated in King County. None of these groups crossed the 70 percent threshold in any part of the county.

Hispanic / Latin demographics are largely not expected to meet the 70% target by August in most areas of the county, with residents of South King County not expected to meet the target until mid-September.

The African American population is not expected to hit the 70% mark until June 30, with the exception of East King County, where 69% are currently vaccinated.

With only about 22,000 of the 48,000 blacks living in Seattle fully immunized, this region’s demographic is not expected to meet the June 30 target until the end of September.

Jeff Duchin of Public Health – Seattle & King County said there are many unique communities across the county and the reasons for not getting vaccinated yet are different from individual to individual. He said some groups have long been suspicious of the health system and vaccination, while others have not received the vaccine for cultural or religious reasons.

Duchin said other people were wary of the vaccine due to safety concerns and doubts generated by misinformation on the internet, with some people believing the vaccine would make them magnetic or infertile.

Others may have limited access to the health system or even be disenfranchised. Duchin said some people were concerned about the side effects of the vaccine and that the vaccine could cause them to miss work and lose income.

“Just because people aren’t vaccinated today doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future,” Duchin said.

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