America could do a better job ensuring those who’ve been most affected by the coronavirus pandemic have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC study found that communities of “racial/ethnic minority groups and persons who are economically and socially disadvantaged” had lower rates of vaccination from Dec. 14, 2020, to March 1, 2021, when compared to communities of “low social vulnerability,” according to the CDC.

To address the vaccine distribution disparity, the CDC suggested public health officials determine whether it was caused by “access problems (e.g., vaccine supply, vaccination clinic availability, and lack of prioritization of vulnerable groups) or other challenges, such as vaccine hesitancy.”

While the 2.5-month study found that a majority of states had some imbalance between vulnerably and vaccine distribution rate, states with “high equity”:

  1. Gave priority to racial or ethnic minority individuals at the beginning of vaccine distribution.
  2. Monitored and addressed vaccination hurdles in vulnerable communities.
  3. Targeted vaccines for vulnerable communities.
  4. Offered no-cost transportation to vaccination locations.
  5. Worked with “community partners, tribal health organizations, and the Indian Health Service” on vaccine rollout.
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Around 75.5 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, The New York Times reported Thursday. Of that number, about 41 million are “fully vaccinated by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine or the two-dose series made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna,” according to The Times.

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Those who have been fully vaccinated — and have waited two weeks since their final dose — can begin gathering indoors with other vaccinated people, The Associated Press reported. And, according to the CDC, vaccinated individuals “can meet with unvaccinated people from one household at a time, if those people are considered at low risk of severe COVID-19,” the AP reported.

But caution shouldn’t be thrown to the wind just yet.

In its “Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People,” the CDC says fully vaccinated individuals should still “take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing” and to “wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.”

The coronavirus has caused more than 540,500 deaths in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University on Friday.