Racial disparities in vaccination distribution the focus of recent fellowship for Black journalists in NJ

Oni Advincula
Apr 13 · 3 min read

Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white people. Yet the vaccination rate in the Black community remains the lowest among any ethnic group.

In New Jersey, months into efforts to get the vaccine to Black and other hard-hit communities, only 5 percent of the 4.4 million doses distributed in the state had gone to Black recipients, as compared to 58 percent among white.

Fueled by a long history of mistreatment, mistrust in the government, doubts about safety and a slew of misinformation and disinformation about the coronavirus vaccine, reluctance and fear of getting the vaccine is a palpable concern.

Last month, the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University provided a reporting fellowship to four Black journalists to help them report on the COVID-19 vaccination distribution in New Jersey’s Black community.

From “How I Decided the COVID-19 Vaccine Was Right For Me” to “Newark’s Black Churches Lend a Hand in Battle Against COVID-19,” 10 stories have been aired and published in various online and print publications as well as radio stations that serve the Black community across the state. The fellowships were supported by funding from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Gregg Morris, one of the fellows who continues to investigate for his stories, found, for example, that some members of the community believe that blaming the gap wholly on distrust and myths around the vaccination is dangerous. It puts the onus on Black Americans and walks away from the real reason: A systemic lack of resources, especially when it comes to healthcare. Is there true investment in vaccine distribution in Black communities?

The stories produced for the fellowship included:

Oni Advincula is the ethnic media program coordinator at the Center for Cooperative Media. Contact him at oni.advincula@gmail.com or advinculaa@montclair.edu.

About the Center for Cooperative Media: The Center is a grant-funded program of the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. Its mission is to grow and strengthen local journalism and support an informed society in New Jersey and beyond. The Center is supported with general operational funding from Montclair State University, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, the New Jersey Local News Lab (a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Democracy Fund, and Community Foundation of New Jersey), and the Abrams Foundation. For more information, visit CenterforCooperativeMedia.org.

Center for Cooperative Media

An initiative of the School of Communication at Montclair…