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White Americans are getting vaccinated at a higher rate than minorities despite increased infections and deaths in communities of color, according to initial data. The serious illness care field must come together to tackle health inequities and ensure that vaccines reach those who need them most.
C-TAC is dedicated to ensuring that all those living with serious illness receive comprehensive, high-quality, person-centered care that is consistent with their goals and values and honors their dignity. Two of C-TAC’s priority areas are:
- The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated problems facing individuals with serious illness and has changed the way much of our health care system provides services to and supports this population.
- Addressing health equity injustices: Systemic injustices throughout the health care system are finally being openly acknowledged. C-TAC is committed to addressing and dismantling systemic barriers to high-quality serious illness care for historically medically underserved or mistreated communities, including the African American, Indigenous, Latinx Americans, LGBTQ+, and Disability communities.
Equitable Vaccine Response
Equitable COVID-19 vaccine access and education falls at the intersection of these two C-TAC priority areas. Some key points that are especially important to keep in mind regarding vaccine response and education:
Vaccine access supports equity work. Equity in vaccine allocation, including vaccination sites and distribution patterns, can help to mitigate the consequences of existing socioeconomic and racial injustices that cause higher COVID-19 risks for African American, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and Disability communities.
Equitable categories of vaccine eligibility. Instead of using blunt age cutoffs (e.g., everyone over 65), it’s important to advocate for extended vaccine allocation to African Americans, Latinx, Indigenous, LGBT, and Disability individuals, who experience COVID-19 mortality and morbidity at earlier ages than the majority population.
Vaccine education. Vaccine hesitancy—avoidance or refusal of a vaccine when it is offered—–is more prevalent in communities who have historically experienced trauma and mistreatment at the hands of the healthcare system. Inequity results if lower-risk populations are vaccinated ahead of higher-risk populations due to vaccine hesitancy. We need to support coordinated and proactive responses to vaccine hesitancy as part of an ethical and effective vaccine allocation.
Culturally aware vaccination tracking. It’s important that we understand national vaccine uptake across race, ethnicity, gender expression, and other demographic factors in order to support equity. It’s time to move past “color blind” rollout policies and data reporting methods that reinforce systematic racism, and instead develop targeted responsive interventions to ensure equitable distribution and uptake of the vaccine.
Learn More and Get Involved
C-TAC is actively working with community and faith changemakers help ensure that the most at-risk members of the African American, Latinx, LGBTQ, and Indigenous communities (especially community members with serious illness) receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Here are two events that you can attend or promote regarding this issue:
February 24, 1:55 PM ET: COVID-19 Response Session at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
Join this webinar from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference to learn how leaders in African American faith communities can support COVID-19 vaccine education, awareness, and trust. To learn more, please click here.
February 28, 6 PM ET: COVID-19 Response Webinar with the Progressive National Baptist Convention
Join this webinar from the Progressive National Baptist Convention to learn about their church community’s response to COVID-19. To learn more, please click here.
Equitable vaccine distribution is just one important component of C-TAC’s policy and advocacy agenda. Learn more about C-TAC’s 2021 policy priorities here.
A big thank you to the Hastings Center, whose research on equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution informed this blog post!