KFF has updated its national analysis of race/ethnicity data of COVID-19 cases and deaths, vaccinations, and treatments as concerns grow over a potential increase in COVID-19 cases during winter and upcoming holiday gatherings and the low take-up of the COVID-19 bivalent booster vaccine among the eligible public.
Despite earlier progress narrowing disparities in COVID-19 vaccination, new disparities have emerged in take-up of boosters and treatment.
Federal data from earlier this month indicates that, among the eligible population, 10% of White people had received a COVID-19 bivalent booster dose, twice the rate of eligible Black (5%) and Hispanic (4%) people and nearly twice as high as for Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander people (6%). Eleven percent of Asian people and 8% of American Indian and Alaskan Native people had received a bivalent booster dose.
The bivalent booster data stands in contrast to the vaccination rates among racial and ethnic groups for at least one dose of the primary COVID-19 vaccine. The rate for a primary COVID-19 vaccine dose among White people stood at 56% earlier this month. The primary vaccine dose rate among Black people lagged at 50%, while other racial and ethnic groups had surpassed the rates among White people. Uptake of at least one dose of the primary COVID-19 vaccine began leveling off across all racial/ethnic groups in late winter 2021.
Racial and ethnic gaps are also found in the data on the treatment of COVID-19. As of mid-2022, among COVID-19 patients aged 20 and older, people of color were less likely to have been treated with the antiviral treatment Paxlovid. While the disparities were found across all age groups, the Paxlovid treatment gap was more evident among adults aged 50 or older and those who are immunocompromised (groups more at risk for serious health outcomes).
For the full analysis including a look at the trends in racial disparities in cases and deaths which have widened and narrowed over the course of the pandemic read, COVID-19 Cases and Deaths, Vaccinations, and Treatments by Race/Ethnicity as of Fall 2022.