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February 03, 2021

Chairs Thompson and Demings Write White House COVID-19 Equity Task Force to Urge Equitable Vaccine Distribution

(WASHINGTON) – Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Recovery Subcommittee Chairwoman Val Demings (D-FL) sent a letter to the White House COVID-19 Equity Task Force regarding the lack of equitable distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

Initial reporting indicates African American and Hispanic populations across the country are being vaccinated at a rate dramatically lower than the rest of the population. For example, in Mississippi, African Americans represent roughly 38.3% of COVID-19 cases and 41.5% of COVID deaths but account for only 15.3% of vaccinations. Similarly, in Florida, African Americans represent roughly 14.6% of COVID-19 cases and 16.5% of COVID-19 deaths, but account for only 5.7% of vaccinations.

“Equitably distributing vaccines across the country requires an affirmative effort to address historical inequities and repair the damage done by the inefficient and counterproductive actions of the Trump Administration,” the Chairs wrote. 

In addition to the steps the Biden Administration is already taking, the Chairs urge the Administration to prioritize greater uniform data collection and reporting practices on testing and vaccine distribution that includes information on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status amongst State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal partners; enhance community vaccination outreach efforts; redouble access through internet alternatives, like traditional mail, to promote vaccine uptake and spread awareness about vaccine locations; and tackle transportation challenges that keep eligible people from accessing vaccination sites.

Link to letter

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