ROANOKE, Va. – Virginia and most other states are falling short on ensuring equitable vaccine coverage for many communities that may need protection against COVID-19 the most, a new CDC analysis indicates.
“Have we have achieved the level of equity that we need to? No! Absolutely not. Is it something that we can discussions about every day? Absolutely,” commented Roanoke City and Alleghany Health District Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow.
The report examines the first few months of the nation’s vaccination efforts. Factors such as area poverty, household demographics and minority status were taken into account.
State politicians say the American Rescue Plan helps ensure equity through education and funding.
“Leveraging local community groups, particularly religious outreach via churches, synagogues, or other cultural community groups to make sure people understand the vaccine is available and they have a trusted person bringing it to them,” suggested Rep. Abigail Spanberger who represented Virginia’s 7th district.
The data comes as the United States is expected to hit 100 million vaccine doses administered as early as next week.
“In April for example, between Pfizer and Moderna that’s 90 million doses of vaccine that will be delivered which is as many as we’ve given up until this point is 90 million so that will double like next month and that is not even counting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine,” said UVA Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. William Petri.
In Southwest Virginia, health district leaders say their rollout has been smooth and has served a diverse group of residents.
“I absolutely believe that long after the pandemic we are going to be addressing health inequity and means to achieve health equity,” said Dr. Morrow.
Click here to read the full report.