CHARLESTON, W.Va. — COVID-19 vaccinations now are available to West Virginians older than 16, but disparities persist.
While Black people make up 3.6% of the state population, they compose just 2.1% of those vaccinated, according to state Department of Health and Human Resources statistics. Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show Black people are more likely than white people to contract COVID-19 and be hospitalized and die from the virus.
“Dismal. That is disappointing and those numbers are just dismal,” said Rick Martin, former president of the Charleston NAACP. “It’s alarming knowing what we already know here, that African Americans are going to suffer the most because of this.”
Calhoun and Webster counties — home to 28 and 41 Black people respectively, according to census data — have yet to vaccinate a Black resident, according to the state.
At least 20% of white residents in all 55 counties have received a vaccine dose. Only 22 counties have vaccinated Black or minority populations at the same rate…