The COVID-19 outlook has slowly but steadily improved as vaccine doses make their way into the arms of health care workers and older adults across Illinois and the U.S.
But data has indicated a troubling trend: The communities most at risk for COVID-19 infection are not the communities receiving the vaccine.
Earlier this month, Dr. Julie Morita, executive vice president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and a member of the Biden administration’s COVID-19 task force, co-authored an op-ed in USA Today urging an equitable approach to vaccine distribution.
Morita says that limited vaccine supply makes the task ahead difficult, but not impossible.
“These are challenging times because the vaccine supply are limited and I think it’s critical that we get the vaccines out as quickly as possible,” Morita said on “Latino Voices.” “There are definitely programs in place … where community health workers are going out into the communities to help people register for the vaccines if they don’t have high-speed internet access, to get the vaccines into community health centers and retail pharmacies located in harder-hit communities so that people actually have access to the vaccines. … Prioritization is part of the solution, but we also need to make sure the vaccine is easily accessible.”
Ensuring accessibility means taking the location and amenities of vaccination locations into account, she said.
“Making sure the clinics are located in the right places and they’re also accessible by public transportation and open after hours or on weekends, because we know that not everyone can take off time from work to get a vaccine,” Morita said. “We also know that not everyone has a car. So part of it is prioritization but the other part is making sure the vaccines are the easily accessible to all.”