HOUSTON – Numbers compiled from the CDC paint a demographic picture of exactly who has received the COVID-19 vaccine so far. The profile is a white female who is non-Hispanic and at least 50 years of age. But how do the numbers behind the numbers add up?
For instance -- the figures compiled from Dec. 14 to Jan. 14 show that 63% of those vaccinated were females. Does that mean men are being left behind in the push to get Americans inoculated?
“Women tend to be the bulk of the nursing population and nurses aides in the U.S.,” said Vivian Ho, a health economist from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine.
Ho pointed out that the two groups targeted for the initial rollout were healthcare professionals and senior citizens in nursing homes. She said since about 75% of the medical field is female, it makes sense that more women have been vaccinated at this point. The stage of life also plays a role.
“Usually what happens is that if men need assistance in their older age it’s usually their wife taking care of them and then it’s the women,” Ho said. “When they can no longer take care of themselves, they’re the ones who end up being in nursing homes.”
The profile also shows about 60% of those vaccinated are white -- with Hispanics representing just 11.5% of those who have received the vaccine -- but well ahead of other ethnic groups. Access and historical issues account for some of those disparities. Ho said all groups should be encouraged to seek vaccines but the push should only go so far.
“We do not want to have punishments or sticks, forcing people to get vaccinations,” Ho said. “We’ve learned in the past for any types of incentive programs that that is not the route to go.”
Ho also said that despite waiting and delays, Texas has done a “very good” job with the rollout compared to a number of other states, especially when it comes to the number of people vaccinated so far.