By Matt Petrillo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council members are concerned about the racial disparity over who is receiving the vaccine. The racial breakdown from the Philadelphia COVID Vaccine Dashboard shows whites make up more than half of those getting vaccinated in the city, outpacing African Americans by more than three times.

“How we prioritize communities of color with the continued vaccine distribution and rollout will be vital in ensuring we can close that inequitable gap,” Philadelphia City Councilwoman Katherine Gilmore said.

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The chart also illustrates glaring inequities in vaccine distribution among men and women, and the number of young people being vaccinated, compared to older residents at more risk from the virus.

The Philadelphia Health Department insists the disparity is because the vast majority of vaccines first went to health care workers in the city.  Some also point to other factors.

“The digital divide has also been a problem,” said Dr. Delana Wardlaw, a physician with Temple Health in North Philadelphia. “People have to sign up for this vaccine on a computer or a telephone. That is not making it easier, either.”

Still, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told Eyewitness News on Wednesday the city is asking hospitals to go into neighborhoods to vaccinate people.

“We’re going to continue working with the Black Doctors Consortium, expand their reach,” the mayor said.

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“They were able to vaccinate almost 1,000 community members in the middle of a nor’easter,” Gilmore said. “So continuing to support the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is vitally important to ensure we will have more communities of color vaccinated in the city of Philadelphia.”

The health department says they are vaccinating in federally qualified health centers and pharmacies and getting out into the community, as the percentage of African Americans who have been vaccinated has approximately doubled in the last week. They expect this trend to continue.

The health department is also planning to roll out six mass vaccination sites later this month that could vaccinate up to 500 people a day.

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