As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation and world, the same structural racism that has led to significant health disparities in this country was further crystallized. The National Health Interview Survey indicates that white adults are more likely to receive their recommended vaccinations than Black and Hispanic adults. The impact: systemically excluded communities — including Native American, Black, Asian, Latino/Latina/Latinx, and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities — have been disproportionately infected and dying from COVID-19.

To increase COVID-19 and influenza equity, Community Catalyst developed the Vaccine Equity and Access Program focused on growing vaccine confidence, access, and availability among communities of color. The program is grounded in partnership with 90 community-based organizations.

90 partnerships

with community-based organizations throughout the country grew vaccine access and confidence

51 million people

received critical information about COVID-19 and flu vaccines because of VEAP partnerships

Together, we are strengthening and amplifying provider relationships within the communities they serve — as local health care and community leaders are critical in boosting vaccine confidence, sharing resources about vaccine types and boosters, and responding to frequently-asked questions or concerns people may have. These influential and trusted messengers have become ambassadors of scientifically accurate and unbiased information about COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. This work has also helped to strengthen partnerships with state and local health departments.

In addition to the 90 community-based organizations, we are working with three national non-profit organizations — LeadingAge, the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition, and Young Invincibles — to execute vaccine confidence-building and vaccination access strategies focused on important segments of the targeted populations: older adults, young adults, and immigrant communities.

Funding provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of its Partnering for Vaccine Equity efforts.

Partner Spotlight: LGBT Center of Raleigh

Personal experiences with racism and queerphobia from health care providers has caused many LGBTQ+ people, especially those who are also people of color, to distrust the medical community. This mistrust is a major barrier for LGBTQ+ people in seeking care, including COVID-19 vaccinations. To combat this issue, the LGBT Center of Raleigh teamed up with local drag queens to serve as influential messengers to help educate people about COVID-19 vaccines. As pillars of the LGBTQ+ community, “drag queens have been empowered as trusted messengers to share this information more widely within the queer community,” said LGBT Center of Raleigh Program Director Noah Riley.