Data journalist Angel Kastanis, Los Angeles; health and science writer Carla K. Johnson, Seattle; and race and ethnicity reporter Kat Stafford, Chicago, collaborated on a piece that exposed racial disparities in the early rollout of the vaccine, with African Americans lagging behind the rest of the country in getting shots.

The team was initially stymied by a lack of comprehensive national data and scattered figures from state to state and city to city. But they were able to piece together data from 17 states and two cities to make a powerful, data-driven statement on the issue.

The story showed that Black Americans were getting shots at rates dramatically below their share of the population, a disturbing development considering how much of a role race has played in disproportionately affecting people of color in the pandemic. The analysis put the AP out front on a critical issue, two days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out its own analysis of the issue.

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Mary Jenkins, left, receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Paterson, N.J., Jan. 21, 2021.

AP Photo / Seth Wenig