Some interesting data was released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services yesterday as part of updating their Covid-19 data website.  That data generated the following headlines:

Detroit News: "Fewer Black Michiganians have received COVID vaccine, state officials say"

Detroit Free Press: "3.7% of COVID-19 vaccines went to Black Michiganders as state aims to boost that rate"

MLive: "New Michigan vaccine data shows disparities along racial lines"

Interesting to note that the Detroit Free Press headline did not point directly to disparities, good for them because the data in the reports put a huge question mark around those headlines.

According to a break down in the Detroit News article “the numbers show that of those vaccinated at least once”:

  • 41.7% are white
  • 3.7% are Black
  • 1.1% are Asian or Pacific Islander
  • 0.3% are American Indian/Alaskan Native
  • 9.5% are listed as other

From those numbers, it would be very easy to come to a conclusion that there is a disparity among the races. If one was to actually dig into the data and report it as the Detroit News and MLive did in their articles a very large number/statistic presents itself that puts that conclusion and those headlines into doubt.  A very big doubt.

As reported by the Detroit News:

“According to data reported through Monday, 1,252,497 state residents have received at least one dose of vaccine. Of those, some 547,163, or about 43.7%, did not have race information recorded, the health department said.”

I have no issue reporting vaccine doses administered via race but I do have an issue when news organizations have headlines that I believe are meant to deceive.  With 43.7% of people receiving the vaccine not reporting their race how can we legitimately, intelligently and honestly draw any race conclusions from them?

Also currently only people 65 and older and whom the Federal/State government determines are essential workers i.e. healthcare, front-line responders, teachers and etc., are allowed to receive the vaccine.

How can we draw any hard conclusions on which to make decisions via race or sex with this data?

I believe we simply cannot.

In time and with enough hard data we should and will.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health stated:

“We urge Michiganders to fill out race data questions on forms when they get their vaccine…Knowing this information helps guide the state’s strategy and allows us to address any gaps as we move forward getting Michiganders protected from the virus.”

Interesting since Democrat Governor Whitmer is in charge of distributing the vaccine in Michigan and Democrat Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, a black man, was put in charge of making sure the vaccines are distributed equally.

Do they not trust what they are doing?

I am sure most people are doing the best they can to distribute the vaccine equally and we just do not have enough hard data yet to determine if that is actually happening or not.

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LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.