August 3, 2021
A national coalition that includes a faculty member from The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and that is working to strengthen the community’s involvement in an equitable COVID-19 rollout released a new report, Carrying Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination Forward: Guidance Informed by Communities of Color.
Alabama is one of five sites of the CommuniVax initiative – a rapid ethnographic research project examining facilitators and barriers to vaccine uptake in historically underserved communities of color in the United States. Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, physician and professor of community medicine and population health at CCHS, is one of four UA researchers involved in the coalition.
In addition to Alabama, the other sites are San Diego, California; Southeastern Idaho; Baltimore City, Maryland; and Prince George’s County, Maryland.
The new report, released in July, provides specific guidance on adapting COIVD-19 vaccination efforts to achieve greater vaccine coverage in underserved populations and, through this, to develop sustainable, locally appropriate mechanisms to advance equity in health. As the COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues, it is critical that vaccines are delivered fairly and equitably so that everyone has access, according to the report.
The report provides five overarching policy and practice recommendations, across two focus areas: urgently providing COVID-19 vaccines for Black and Latino communities and putting in place essential changes to provide a more robust public health system moving forward.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color in the United States. Across the country, COVID-19 infection and mortality rates are highest in non-white groups, particularly Black, Indigenous and Latino/Latinx populations. The pandemic continues to exacerbate systemic factors that drive long standing health inequities among communities of color. The situation is compounded in states with substantial rural populations like Alabama, by issues of poverty, transportation and shrinking health-care infrastructure.
Vaccination efforts can help mitigate COVID-19 transmission and burden, but hard-hit communities must have an active role in the vaccination campaign, according to the coalition. Local research teams will listen to community members and work with them to develop suggestions on how to strengthen COVID-19 vaccine delivery and communication strategies.
CommuniVax is an initiative led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Texas State University Department of Anthropology. CommuniVax has received a $2 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to fund this research.
To read the report: Click Here.