At least one vaccination site in Seattle, Washington is placing white people on a standby list when they try to make an online appointment for a COVID-19 shot.
The African-American Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH) has four upcoming vaccination events listed on its website, but individuals who attempt to sign up for a shot on May 1 at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center are first asked to indicate if they are a black, indigenous or person of color. If not, they must go onto a waitlist.
EXCLUSIVE: The WA State Dept. of Health lets providers deny vaccines to whites.
One provider denying white people vaccines thinks it’s equitable: “Is that what you’re thinking? That it has to just be totally a free for all and whoever comes in comes in?”https://t.co/jAWDvHy3gO
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) April 22, 2021
AARTH consultant Twanda Hill told the Jason Rantz Show that the discrimination was due to the group’s funding sources. “We have funding because we are able to reach people of color. Federal funding, state funding, county funding. They want to know who are we serving,” she said. (RELATED: Vermont Opens Vaccine Availability To All Who ‘Identify’ As Minorities)
Hill said that white people aren’t barred from getting a vaccine because a small portion of the people on the white standby list have made it through and gotten appointments. People who lie about their race also aren’t turned away when they show up. The entire list of non-white applicants must be exhausted before the white standby list will begin to be tapped to fill vacancies, though, according to Rantz.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) reportedly told Rantz the waiting list is a part of the state’s goal to distribute vaccines equitably.
“Prioritization is designed to address current inequities and barriers to accessing vaccine, and get the people who are at highest risk vaccinated first while federal vaccine supply remains limited,” spokesperson Kristen Maki told Rantz.
Maki told the Daily Caller that the practice carried out by AARTH is in line with DOH policy. “Providers offering appointment blocks specific to a group at high risk for COVID-19 (which could include people of color, older people, people who are uninsured, people who work in a high-risk setting, people with disabilities, people with limited English proficiency, people with significant comorbidities, etc.) are doing so because of the elevated risk faced by that group.”
When asked if the DOH condones racial discrimination in vaccine distribution, Maki did not provide a direct answer. “Someone who isn’t part of a high-risk group a provider is prioritizing may not be able to participate in a specific event or get an appointment in a specific block of time,” she told the Daily Caller.
While non-white Americans have statistically experienced worse health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no medical evidence that race alone makes someone more susceptible to serious illness or death from the virus.
Hill said the discrimination was needed because the healthcare system does not adequately serve non-white people.
“The state, you know, the health care system in general, if they could service brown people and people of color, this wouldn’t be an issue… Is that what you’re thinking? That it has to just be totally a free for all and whoever comes in, comes in? And if that’s the case, then why would the Black church do it?” (RELATED: Jen Psaki Responds To Suggestion That Prioritizing Teacher Vaccinations Is ‘Anti-Equity Since Most Teachers Are White’)
Maki told Rantz that discriminating based on race is no different that prioritizing any other group for certain medical treatments, and implied that white people never face barriers to accessing healthcare.
“This prioritization is similar to an event like free breast cancer screening for people without health insurance. If event organizers place someone who does have health insurance and wants a screening on standby, that person isn’t being denied a screening. They don’t experience the same barriers to getting health care as the people the event was created to help.”