Back in December, CNSNews.com columnist Hans Bader argued (badly) that Blacks and Hispanics don't deserve early acceess to a coronavirus vaccine because they are "not inherently at greater risk of contracting the virus" (which is not true) and that it's their fault they tend to work in jobs that expose them to greater risk of catching the virus. Apparently that argument didn't gain any traction, for he tried it again in a Jan. 21 column:
Oregon plans to give minorities preference over whites in access to the coronavirus vaccine, which is unconstitutional.
After vaccinating healthcare workers, teachers, and seniors, Oregon plans to vaccinate "people in communities of color, specifically those most impacted by the pandemic: 'Black, African-American, Hispanic/Latino/Latinx, indigenous peoples, tribal and urban-based native communities, and Pacific Islanders.'”
The racial differences in disease rates aren't based on genetic susceptibility. Hispanics, who have a lot of white DNA, are the most disproportionately impacted: they account for 36% of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, despite being only 13% of Oregon's population. People who have looked at similar or larger disparities in other states have concluded that they are not due to racism, but rather due to other factors, such as Hispanics being a disproportionate share of the essential workforce exempt from government lockdowns, or their living in densely-populated apartment buildings.
There is nothing special about their genes that puts them in danger. It is just that their jobs, neighborhoods, and backgrounds tend to put them in more frequent contact with people who already carry COVID-19. As medical school professor Sally Satel observes, the risks of exposure for blacks and Hispanics "are increased because they are more likely than whites to work lower-paying jobs that require interaction with the public and to travel to those jobs by public transportation. Blacks and Hispanics are also more likely to live in homes with many family members sharing close quarters."
So it is those characteristics -- not race -- that Oregon can legally consider in handing out the vaccine to individuals.
It might be argued that blacks live in densely-populated areas plagued by coronavirus partly due to discrimination, such as redlining by banks, or discrimination by landlords. But the Supreme Court has ruled that "societal discrimination" against a minority group is not a valid reason for giving priority to members of that group. (See Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1989)). So even if black and Hispanic people experience discrimination that shunts them into lower-paying jobs with increased risk of catching the coronavirus, that wouldn't be reason enough for Oregon to give them a racial preference.
It seems that Bader is just searching for legal loopholes to keep Blacks and Hispanics from getting the vaccine ahead of him. And, strangely, he doesn't seem all that eager to give vaccines to those essential workers whose jobs put them more at risk.