Partners In Health White Paper Highlights HCGC involved work in Ohio
"Eligibility is Not Access: Prioritizing those most at risk in the next push of vaccine rollout"
Executive Summary: "Across the United States, expanded vaccine eligibility offers hope that within months enough Americans will be immunized to allow the safe resumption of normal activity. However, relying on a national vaccination campaign to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic is not so straightforward; even with open eligibility, our health system is not designed to ensure vaccine access and uptake for all. We’ve seen time and again that simply making health care available without understanding and eliminating barriers to access perpetuates inequitable outcomes. In response, Partners In Health (PIH) is supporting and co-developing pragmatic and sustainable solutions with local communities to meet the opportunities and challenges of COVID-19 vaccination.
To get to our new normal—safely reopening our schools, our businesses and our communities —we must achieve 70-90% vaccination rates. Critically, for disease control and population immunity, we must reach these rates everywhere, at the global, national, and local levels, and we must maintain them. If not, we will continue to see hotspots of infection surface and spread, with resultant disease and mortality, potentially driving the emergence of new variants.
Standing in the way of this goal are long-standing structural inequities that have led to a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 in certain communities. We must prioritize vaccinations for those most at risk and work together to establish a more responsive and community-centered public health system in the process.
Epidemiologic and social risk factors reinforce the need to prioritize older individuals, communities of color, and essential workers. To combat the structural factors that have resulted in these groups suffering disproportionately from COVID-19 and other health inequities, PIH is supporting a 3-pronged approach to rolling out vaccination and improving health outcomes:
1) increasing vaccine demand through community engagement;
2) ensuring adequate vaccine supply through resource allocation and operations;
and 3) leveraging the vaccination opportunity to invest in long-term public health systems.
It can be done. Our work in more than 15 locations across the country demonstrates how departments of health, community-based organizations, and others—regardless of where they are in the vaccine rollout—can take action alongside community leaders to ensure older adults, communities of color, and essential workers have the resources and information they need to get vaccinated. While the focus of this memo is the U.S., our work for equitable vaccination is not, and cannot be, restricted by national borders. Globally and locally, with a strong commitment to prioritization and targeted investment in the necessary resources, we can reach population immunity and stop COVID-19.
Much of our early learnings in community engagement and operations can be adapted globally; importantly, many of these lessons build on our global experience working to implement successful, equitable vaccination campaigns."
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