Vaccine Equity: Will Those Who Need The Vaccine Get It?

Biden administration launches a new program to deliver vaccines to community health centers across the country.
Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 09, 2021

To ensure equity in vaccine distribution, the White House will provide vaccines directly to 250 community health centers. The announcement comes with a promise to increase supplies to states and tribes by 28 percent over when President Biden took office. 

"We are providing a suite of tools to state and local leaders as they as they work to serve the underserved," says COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Chair Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.

Early data shows that communities of color are receiving disproportionately smaller shares of the vaccines.

"We can't have large sections of the community going unvaccinated in order to get to that next stage," says Dr. Preeti Malani, chief health officer at the Division of Infectious Diseases & Geriatric Medicine in the University of Michigan.

In 23 states, Black and Hispanic people are receiving disproportionately low numbers of vaccinations. 

On the Breakfast Club, Charlamagne tha God said, "You know why some Black people don't trust the vaccines? Things like the Tuskegee experiment." 

Vaccine hesitation stems from past inhumane experimentation. And experts say vaccine education, particularly by local health and community leaders, can help answer questions or concerns. 

"If we have a swell of individuals in underserved communities say we want the vaccine, we'll figure it out," says Dr. Anthony Harris, associate medical director of Workcare. "There are not a Walgreens or CVS down the street in many of these communities. We know that that's going to be a bottleneck for those individuals in those communities."

To target underserved areas, the administration also plans on providing mobile clinics.

Dr. Julie Morita, who served on the COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board, said, "We need to think about is really making sure that these sites are located in communities where they're easily accessible, where you don't have to have a car to get the vaccine, where you can make a phone appointment instead of having high-speed internet connections. And schedules actually accommodate people who need to work who might not be able to take time off from work."