Here’s the latest news from the global pandemic.
Having to choose
More than half of U.S. adults are now vaccinated against Covid-19, yet the shots have reached White people at a greater rate than Black people and Hispanic people, relative to their shares of the population.
While that gap is shrinking, one reason for the disparity stands out: People of color are more concerned about missing work if they experience side effects from the vaccine.
Almost two-thirds of Hispanic respondents and more than half of Black respondents in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll said they were somewhat or very concerned that the Covid vaccine might sideline them for a day or longer. That compares with just 41% of White respondents in the survey of unvaccinated adults.
Covid hit people of color harder in the U.S. Part of the reason is that the “essential”workforce is demographically skewed with more Black and Hispanic workers. Farmworkers and meatpackers, bus drivers and postal employees, grocery clerks and home health aides all worked through the pandemic in person.
The disproportionately White professional class that spent the pandemic in front of screens is alsomore likely to get paid sick leave. Now that vaccines are widely available, the same dynamics that heightened the virus’s threat to essential workers is keeping some from protecting themselves against it.
Paid leave, financial incentives, and shots administered on-site are all strategies that employers can use to increase vaccine uptake, Kaiser’s polling data suggests. The Biden administration has promoted tax credits for small employers to give paid time off for vaccinations, and some companies are offering other incentives.
If the U.S. considers certain workers essential, employers now have a way to prove it: Let people get vaccinated without risking their paychecks.—John Tozzi
Track the vaccines
Enough doses have now been administered to fully vaccinate 12.5% of the global population—but the distribution has been lopsided. Countries and regions with the highest incomes are getting vaccinated more than 30 times faster than those with the lowest. We’ve updated our vaccine tracker to allow you to explore vaccine rates vs Covid cases in a number of countries. See the latest here.
What you should read
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