“If we don’t address this now, the cost and burden is going to be greater down the road."By Chris Hoffman

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new report revealed not everyone is getting the same opportunity for the coronavirus vaccine in Allegheny County.

The Black Equity Coalition’s report says people of color are having a harder time getting the vaccine than white people.

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The Black Equity Coalition said the issue Allegheny County is seeing is a reflection of a bigger problem when it comes to health care equity. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the tip of the iceberg.

For the past year, the group collected data on COVID-19’s impact on communities of color. Recently, it studied the equity of vaccine distribution.

“Some of the planning being executed is based on middle-class value system where you have access to transportation. You can get in a car go here and do this,” Fred Brown with The Forbes Fund said.

That has some communities left behind. Brown is part of the Black Equity Coalition. He said the pandemic has shown the inequity of health care.

“If we don’t address this now, the cost and burden is going to be greater down the road,” Brown said over Zoom.

According to their data, the Black community is almost 13 percent of Allegheny County but received less than 9 percent of vaccines. Meanwhile, white people are 78 percent of the population and got 86 percent of shots.

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“You could have a great intervention for anything. But if you’re not able to access it, then it can’t produce the impact your hope,” Dr. Christopher Conti, with Emmanuel Baptist Church and Connected Health, said.

Dr. Conti is working with the health care companies to stop vaccine deserts.

“The only way that’s going to happen is to bring the vaccine into the vaccine desert to make it a vaccine oasis,” Dr. Conti said.

The coalition is recommending even better data on race and seeing where vaccinated people live.

“And then we can actually better aim at neighborhoods that don’t have a large percentage of people vaccinated,” Dr. Tiffany Gary-Webb said over Zoom.

Gary-Webb is with the Graduate School of Public Health at Pitt and is part of the Black Equity Coalition.

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health said providers are required to provide ethnicity and race. The department is working to get the shots into as many communities as possible.