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Vaccine equity improves slightly in Tennessee, data shows

Updated: May. 2, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Vaccine equity among racial and ethnic groups has improved slightly in Tennessee, according to data from the Tennessee Department of Health, but there’s still work to do.

TDH says Blacks, who make up 17 percent of the state’s population, now make up around 11 percent of people who have been vaccinated, compared to 9.7 percent at the beginning of April.

At the end of February, Blacks made up just 7.3 percent of people who were vaccinated statewide.

Hispanics, who make up 5.7 percent of the state’s population, now make up 3.8 percent of people who’ve been vaccinated. That’s up from 2.7 percent a month ago.

At the end of February, Hispanics made up 1.8 percent of people who were vaccinated across the state.

Overall in Tennessee, over 1 in 3 people have now been vaccinated and 1 in 4 are fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an individual as being “fully vaccinated” after two weeks after receiving their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose vaccine.

As vaccine demand falls, public health leaders will lean more on community partners such as churches to reach people.

The members at Pentecostal Temple Church of God in Christ in Memphis say they’re happy to do their part.

On Sunday, the church held an outdoor “Worship and Block Party Celebration.”

The event was an opportunity to encourage members of the community to get vaccinated.

“The purpose of the gathering is to sign up parishioners and people in the neighborhood to get the Covid-19 vaccines,” said Bishop Charles Harrison Mason Patterson, Sr., pastor of the historic church. “Vaccinations are the key to returning to a sense of normalcy in our lives. We have to continue to encourage people to be vaccinated, and to wear face masks and practice social distancing.”

Health experts were also on hand to talk with people about the importance of signing up and getting vaccinated.

To schedule a vaccine appointment in Shelby County, visit: https://covid19.memphistn.gov/vaccine/ or https://vaccinefinder.org/.

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