Demand that Charlie Baker Prioritize Equity in Vaccine Rollout
The vaccine rollout in Massachusetts has been a disaster for everyone, but it has been particularly devastating to the communities of color who have already been disproportionately sickened and killed by the virus. Earlier this week, our friends from the newly formed Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition announced a roadmap for a more equitable distribution of vaccines to the disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities of Massachusetts.
The five Demands of the Coalition are:
DEMAND 1: Direct $10 million to trusted community organizations for outreach & engagement in communities of color
Historical and contemporary experiences of racism and discrimination have led to higher levels of earned distrust in Black, Latinx, immigrant, and low-income communities, and among people who are incarcerated. Funds should be immediately dedicated to trusted community organizations in these communities to engage residents, provide accurate information, and address concerns. These organizations have trusting relationships and know how to reach and effectively engage residents.
DEMAND 2: Immediately implement the promised 20% additional doses for the most impacted communities
The Baker Administration has promised this enhanced vaccine allocation for communities most impacted by COVID-19 - but has failed to deliver. This must be implemented immediately and should be defined by the zip code of residents receiving the vaccine, not the location of the clinic. These additional allocations must be available in all regions of the state and should be distributed through partnerships with community organizations and mobile vaccination programs, among other methods.
DEMAND 3: Set clear goals & track vaccine benchmarks that mirror the disproportionate impact on Black & Latinx residents
Black and Latinx residents have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, yet are receiving vaccines at far lower rates than White residents. In order to change this, the Baker Administration must establish and monitor clear goals to provide vaccines that mirror the proportion of hospitalizations experienced by each racial group—meaning at least 10% and 15% of doses for Black and Latinix residents, respectively—larger than their share of the population. To date, the vaccine rates of Latinx and Black residents have been alarmingly low, at only 3.9% and 5.1%, respectively.
DEMAND 4: Improve language access & cultural competence across all aspects of vaccine outreach & administration
All aspects of the vaccine distribution—including the
website, call center, print materials, staff at vaccine sites, and media
campaigns—must be inclusive of residents who speak Spanish, Portuguese,
Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean Creole, Vietnamese, Khmer, and Mandarin,
among others languages. Health care professionals and residents of
color, as well as those from diverse language backgrounds, should be
engaged in the production of the state’s mass media campaign.
DEMAND 5: Appoint a vaccine czar with authority & accountability to address vaccine inequities
Governor Baker should immediately appoint a senior-level director of COVID-19 vaccination equity and outreach whose sole focus will be eliminating inequities in COVID-19 vaccination rates rooted in racism and discrimination, distrust of government, and differential access to information, transportation, and other resources.
Email Baker today to demand that he implement these changes in order to eliminate the inequities that communities of color have been experiencing throughout this pandemic.