WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Latinxs are experiencing higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 than white Americans and some now worry about the fair distribution of a vaccine.
Statistics show Hispanic Americans are three times as likely to be infected and twice as likely to die from the coronavirus than white Americans.
“What we’re seeing is historic decimation among the Hispanic community by this virus,” said Dr. Peter Jay Hotez with Baylor University.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is especially concerned about the deaths of Hispanic people under the age of 21 from the virus.
“The numbers are striking, there’s 45% of the deaths of those individuals were among Latinx,” he said.
Hispanics may be hit harder because so many hold essential jobs and there are fewer medical resources, hospitals and doctors in largely lower income communities of color.
Dr. Robert Rodriguez of the University of California San Francisco believes there are solutions, such as establishing “a registry of physicians who could quickly mobilize to help communities in need.”
California Congresswoman Nanette Barragan and Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro worry about Hispanics being left behind in the race to develop treatments and a vaccine.
“I continue to have a concern about access to these clinical trials,” Barragan said.
Castro said he hopes “we’re not going to have a situation with the vaccine where the wealthiest Americans are the ones that get it first.”
Dr. Fauci said the U.S. has contracts to purchase enough doses for all Americans but it will be important to distribute information in Spanish to educate and build trust while also ensuring the vaccine is affordable.