Vaccination rates among Blacks and Hispanics in Tennessee increased in August

Grew at fastest pace since the spring, but vaccine inequities persist
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 2:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Vaccination rates among blacks and Hispanics in Tennessee last month grew at their fastest pace since the spring.

But data also show there’s still a lot of work to do to achieve vaccine equity in Tennessee.

When Memphis State Representative Antonio Parkinson received his first vaccine dose in public last month, he hoped it would help persuade vaccine holdouts, including those in the black community.

“I hope that me being an example will lend some credibility to other people going ahead to take the shot and getting their families vaccinated,” said Parkinson.

Data Action News 5 analyzed from the Tennessee Department of Health shows efforts like those by Parkinson, and by various community groups and churches, may have made a difference.

In August, nearly 50,000 black Tennesseans rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated.

The vaccination rate among blacks in Tennessee increased by 13 percent, the fastest pace since April. It was second only to Hispanics, whose vaccination rate increased by 19 percent.

Despite that growth, black Tennesseans still make up a smaller share of vaccinations (12 percent), compared to the group’s population as a whole (17 percent).

Last week, Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor shared her concerns about the Hispanic vaccination rate.

“While nearly 28,000 people who identify as Hispanic or Latin-X have been vaccinated in Shelby County, that is only about six percent of the estimated Latin-X population in our county,” Taylor said.

While progress has been made in reaching these two important communities, there’s still more work to do.

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