Big Books & Bold Ideas with Kerri Miller

Who's getting vaccinated — and who's not?

A person holds a syringe.
A clinician preparing to administer an investigational COVID-19 vaccine in September 2020. Johnson & Johnson's long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine appears to protect against symptomatic illness with just one shot, not as strong as some two-shot rivals but still potentially helpful for a world in dire need of more doses.
Johnson & Johnson via AP file

When a freezer storing COVID-19 vaccines in Seattle failed, hundreds of people showed up in the middle of the night to get vaccinated before the doses spoiled.

The incident highlighted a few hallmarks of the vaccine rollout so-far: high demand, limited supplies and complicated storage and delivery logistics.

On Friday, Johnson & Johnson released promising data for their single-dose shot, which could be a game changer for getting shots into arms, if approved. Their formula has less onerous shipping and storage requirements compared to the Pfizer vaccine, and would cut out the need for multiple appointments.

Increasing accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines is a major concern across the board, but it is especially important in the context of addressing racial disparities across the country. Black and Latinx communities have been hit disproportionately hard by the virus but are getting vaccinated at lower rates than their white peers.

Despite many Americans clamoring for appointments, there’s rising concern about the number of people who turn down the vaccine when it’s made available to them. MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two physicians about the rollout, access and refusal of COVID-19 vaccines.