A white man who had “elevated medical risk to COVID-19” was denied a vaccine in New Hampshire due to the color of his skin, a new joint civil rights complaint from the Ethics and Public Policy Center and Boyden Gray & Associates states.
The complaint, which was sent to the Biden administration’s Office of Civil Rights on Tuesday, claims that the man attempted to get a dose of the COVID-19 shot through the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley in Lebanon, New Hampshire, in April but was denied because the council was only serving “people of color” at that time.
“Earlier this year, New Hampshire established the use of racial and ethnic criteria to determine eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations. Under the cover of ‘equity,’ the state’s racial set-asides excluded vulnerable people from access to the COVID-19 vaccine because of their race, national origin, and skin color. These actions are destructive to public health and patently illegal under our bedrock civil rights laws,” the complaint states.
The denial came as the state began to roll out its vaccine “equity” initiative, using millions of federal dollars obtained through the OCR parent agency the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services specifically designated for COVID-19 shots. The complaint maintains that “using these funds in a discriminatory manner is a violation of federal law, as New Hampshire is well aware” but that the state continued to violate civil rights laws in exchange for serving people of a certain skin color first.
“No one seeking medical care should ever be sent to the back of the line because of their race, but that is exactly what the state of New Hampshire did with COVID-19 vaccinations. HHS must investigate and hold New Hampshire accountable for its blatantly illegal discrimination,” Rachel Morrison, an attorney and policy analyst for EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project, said in a statement.
New Hampshire is not the only state that used “equity” as an excuse to prioritize vaccine rollout based on skin color. In Maryland, officials in certain counties chose to kick the elderly and even some essential workers off vaccination lists based on prioritization “in the name of racial equity.”
The same thing happened in Washington when the African American Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH) began automatically deferring white people who tried to register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment to a standby list based on race. Only after the waitlist of black and indigenous people and people of other non-white skin colors received their vaccine first would white people will be called about scheduling a time to receive their shot.