The difference between the two indices leads to large differences in allocation, says Dr Schmidt. When the first two phases of vaccines are distributed, an additional 1.7 million doses would be offered to black and Hispanic communities, mostly more disadvantaged, using the vulnerability index preferred by national academies than the index of deprivation, he and other colleagues reported in another article.
The difference in the number of people who received the vaccine, noted Dr. Schmidt, is greater than the population of Philadelphia.
“Normally, we invent scenarios like this for teaching purposes,” said Dr Schmidt. “But for better or worse, that’s pretty much the real picture. “
In principle, using equity and justice as a factor in vaccine delivery is laudable, said Dr Michael DeBaun, vice president of clinical and translational research at Vanderbilt.
But, he said, what if it turns out that a priority vaccine for hard-hit areas with predominantly black residents turned out to have serious side effects? What if these effects could have been predicted if clinical trials had included more people of color?
This impact “would be devastating for confidence in the CDC and public health,” said Dr DeBaun.
Acceptance among people of color will also depend on the political climate and “who is in power,” Dr Monk said. Trump administration officials have repeatedly tried to silence or override career scientists at the CDC and the FDA, fueling skepticism that the vaccines are being rigorously tested, he noted.
Dr Price-Haywood said acceptance of a vaccine must be seen in the larger context of the distrust of many blacks in the medical establishment. It also translates into a reluctance to participate in clinical trials, with people asking, “Is anyone experimenting on me?” “