A new report highlights the work of the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative, which aims to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates in the United States and, over the longer term, strengthen the public health system to achieve more-equitable outcomes. The initiative focused on five demonstration cities, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Newark, and Oakland, to plan and implement hyper-local, community-led strategies to increase vaccine confidence and access for BIPOC communities.
OSI-Baltimore has anchored the Baltimore effort, called the Baltimore Equitable Vaccination Initiative, partnering with Baltimore City Health Department and more than a dozen community-based organizations to reduce vaccine disparities in Baltimore. Our efforts have included increasing vaccine delivery to underserving communities, promoting community engagement with community-based health workers and vaccine providers, and implementing a communications strategy toto encourage all eligible Baltimore City residents to get vaccinated, including the creation of the Bmore Vaxxed website and social media channels.
The new report, completed by the RAND Corporation on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation, details the strategies and results of the initiative thus far. It includes several stories from the work in Baltimore, including the following:
An example from Baltimore: A CBO that delivers food to older adults with limited mobility hired local youth to be vaccine ambassadors. The youth helped deliver food door to door in their assigned apartment complexes. At the same time, they talked to residents about getting vaccinated. If the residents were interested, the vaccine ambassadors pulled out their phones, preregistered the residents, made their appointments, and even arranged transportation to and from the site if needed.
Since the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative launched in the summer of 2021, partner organizations have held nearly 1,200 vaccine-related events, provided assistance to get people vaccinated (e.g., transportation, registration) more than 42,000 times, made almost 2 million connections with community members through campaigns and information sessions, and administered almost 16,000 COVID-19 vaccinations.