The COVID-19 pandemic in Massachusetts and across the nation has been characterized by dramatic racial inequities. Across the board, Black and Latinx communities have borne a disproportionate burden — from infections to hospitalizations and deaths. When vaccines became available, MPHA joined forces with civil-rights, racial justice and immigrant justice organizations to form the Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition. Together, we are advocating to focus resources on protecting the communities that have been hardest hit by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, the state’s vaccine rollout has so far lacked a strong equity focus, and White residents have received a disproportionate share of the state’s available vaccine doses. In February 2021, the coalition released a set of five demands to Governor Baker, including:
- Direct $10 million to trusted community organizations for outreach & engagement in hard-hit communities of color,
- Implement the promised 20% additional vaccine doses for the most impacted communities,
- Set clear goals & track vaccine benchmarks that mirror the disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx residents,
- Improve language access & cultural competence across vaccine outreach, and
- Appoint a Vaccine Czar with authority & accountability to address vaccine inequities.