‘Door-to-door. That’s how you get it done’: Inside the White House’s push to get people of color COVID-19 vaccines
Deborah Barfield Berry, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Armed with more racial data on vaccination rates, the Biden administration is targeting its outreach efforts, including a door-to-door campaign, in the latest push to get more people of color vaccinated by July 4.
"We absolutely cannot beat this virus without making sure there's a plan that works for everyone and works for all communities,'' Marcella Nunez-Smith, chairwoman of the White House COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, said at a briefing Tuesday.
Of the 57% of Americans who had one dose of the vaccine by June 7, nearly two-thirds were white, 15% were Hispanic, 9% were Black, 6% were Asian and 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The global pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color, with high rates of cases and deaths.
Nunez-Smith spoke recently with USA TODAY about the administration’s efforts to push for more racial data and address inequities in the response to the pandemic.
“The better the data, the better we're able to say, ‘OK, we need to dig deeper to do more in X area,’" Nunez-Smith said. “The national aggregated data are really important when we look at reaching the president’s goal of 70% by July 4. That's very appropriate to have those kinds of national goals, but when it comes to equity those goals have to be super local.”
The administration has turned to faith leaders and community-based organizations to set up vaccination sites in churches and barbershops, and partnered with Uber and Lyft to provide free rides to vaccine sites through July 4.
"Equity work is hyperlocal,'' Nunez-Smith said. "I have to take my hat off and acknowledge that it's really state and local jurisdictions that are going to lead on everything to do with equity."