National News Desk

Wealthy residents got disproportionate share of vaccines in this Texas county

Martin Holverda/iStock


(DALLAS) — Dallas officials are making changes after three high-income zip codes received a disproportionate share of the county’s first COVID-19 vaccines.

Of the 3,071 doses given out at the Fair Park vaccination site, 461 doses went to people in three high-income zip codes, while people from two zip codes with the highest number of COVID-19 infections received a total of 49 doses, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said a link to the appointment system that was shared among people in North Dallas enabled them to skip the line.

“Now we have an appointment system that can’t be hacked,” Jenkins said. “The people that are getting appointments are the most vulnerable people.”

In addition to the appointment system mishap, more people from affluent areas are signing up for the county waitlist, which is now 300,000 names long. Jenkins attributed the disparity to existing inequalities: compared to high-income people, low-income people are less likely to have reliable transportation, internet access or equal access to information.

There are also signs that racial disparities, which have popped up repeatedly during the pandemic, are already present in the way the vaccine is being distributed. In nearby Tarrant County, Texas, which is 30% Hispanic, only 5% of those vaccinated have been Hispanic.

A Kaiser Health News analysis published this week similarly found that in the 16 states that have released racial data about their initial vaccine distribution, Black Americans are getting vaccinated at a lower rate than white Americans, even despite front-line health workers typically being a racially diverse cohort.

Texas has administered 1.1 million vaccines so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which translates into 4,001 vaccines for every 100,000 residents.

As of Tuesday, Texas had reported 2.1 million infections and 32,711 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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