As Texas expands COVID-19 vaccination eligibility, racial disparities persist among Black, Hispanic residents

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Beverly Mills, a teacher at Anderson Elementary School, speaks to pharmacist Ilana Druker before getting vaccinated at the Houston Independent School District’s Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center on Jan. 9, 2020. Black Texans make up 13% of the state population but just 6% of those vaccinated as of March 18. Credit: May-Ying Lam for The Texas Tribune

Black and Hispanic Texans, who have already been disproportionately killed and hospitalized after being infected with COVID-19, appear to be vastly underrepresented among those getting shots across the state, according to state health data that still paints an incomplete picture.

The state health department’s limited demographic data has clouded the picture of the disparities statewide — more than one-sixth of the records don’t include recipients’ race or ethnicity.

The Texas Department of State Health Services recently expanded vaccine access to Texans age 50 and older and now requires providers to report racial demographic information, but local health officials and experts still say the people being vaccinated in Texas do not reflect the state’s demographics.