Illinois' Black, Latinx residents getting fewer COVID-19 vaccines, early data shows

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel, Ross Weidner and Jonathan Fagg WLS logo
Saturday, February 13, 2021
Black, Latinx getting fewer COVID-19 vaccines: early IL data
Black and Latinx people in Illinois have received disproportionately fewer vaccine doses, according to early data analyzed by the I-Team.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With more than 1.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Illinois so far, new data from the Illinois Department of Public Health reveals more information about who is getting the shots.

74.5% of all Illinois vaccine doses administered so far have been to white residents. The current Illinois population is 61% white.

According to IDPH statistics, 8.2% of Illinois vaccine doses have been given to Black residents-- who currently make up 14% of the state's population.

The percentage of vaccine doses administrated to Latinx residents is also at 8.2%-- while the Latinx population here is 18%.

RELATED: Illinois COVID vaccine map shows how many residents vaccinated by county

One possible cause for the imbalance in vaccine distribution by race is that the first two groups of eligible Illinoisans may not reflect the demographic make-up of the state.

The early data examined by the I-Team is for inoculations to people who fall under categories 1a and 1b: health care workers, first responders, nursing home residents and senior citizens.

The I-Team first began investigating COVID's widening racial divide last spring when data we examined revealed that the virus was disproportionately killing more Black and Latinx residents of Chicago than other ethnic groups.

"I've said since the very beginning that what we can't do is let the vaccine distribution exacerbate inequalities that existed frankly long before COVID-19," Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said Friday at a vaccination site in Chicago Heights.

The new data also reveals that women have received 64% of all doses and men have received 36%. People 65 and older have received about 38% even though they make up about 20% of the state's population.

Just as the vaccination distribution is a work in progress, so is the data collection. 183,897 doses reported by the state do not have racial data recorded and our I-Team analysis reflects that. These trends are also likely to change as a wider portion of the population is vaccinated.