The Biden Administration recently issued a warning that the United States could see as many as 100 million cases of COVID-19 this fall and winter. With this possibility looming in the months ahead, now is a good time to take stock of what we have learned over the last two years of the pandemic and to reflect on the ways in which we can strengthen community health and preparedness going forward.

Since late 2020, I have been a member of the CommuniVax Coalition, a national alliance of social scientists, public health experts, and community advocates seeking to strengthen community roles and involvement in equitable COVID-19 vaccination campaigns. (Initial funding for CommuniVax was provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, with additional support from The Rockefeller Foundation.) Last year, CommuniVax published and produced a number of reports detailing lessons learned and recommendations. The coalition also produced a number of tools and resources to aid communities in supporting equitable vaccination and recovery efforts. The following is an overview of some of the coalition's key reports and resources:

  • Equity in Vaccination: A Plan to Work with Communities of Color Toward COVID-19 Recovery and Beyond, a report outlining five guiding principles for equitable, effective COVID-19 vaccination, paired with specific actions to help ensure hard-hit communities of color derive systemic social and economic benefits. The report also includes an Action Checklist for Ensuring Equity In and Through COVID-19 Vaccination that condensed findings into sample actions local jurisdictions could use to deliver systemic benefits of COVID-19 vaccination to communities of color. The checklist offers samples of short-term and long-term actions that are attainable goals for groups working to create a more equitable and effective COVID-19 vaccination and public health delivery system.
  • The CommuniVax Implementation Toolkit, which is designed to help state and local jurisdictions set health equity efforts in motion rapidly, starting with a COVID-19 vaccination campaign that delivers systemic benefits to communities of color. The toolkit outlines what actions to take, how to develop an equitable strategy, where to seek financial support, and which partners to involve. The goal of the toolkit is to help local residents and groups lead their elected representatives to move from supporting debilitating health and social harms to enabling an equity-in-recovery movement. This toolkit maps out how to co-produce the planning and implementation of community revitalization, create a successful equity funding strategy, and strengthen sustainable change through partnerships across sectors.
  • Carrying Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination Forward: Guidance Informed by Communities of Color, a report providing specific guidance on adapting COVID-19 vaccination efforts to achieve greater vaccine coverage in underserved populations, and through this, to develop sustainable and locally appropriate mechanisms to advance equity in health. The report provides five overarching policy and practice recommendations, across two focus areas: urgently providing COVID-19 vaccines for Black and Latino communities, and putting in place essential changes to provide a more robust public health system moving forward.
  • A Waypoint on the Path to Health Equity: COVID-19 Vaccination at Month 11, a report published in late 2021 describing progress made toward greater equity in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and proposing steps to advance equity even further. The report documents successes, failures, and lessons learned that could be used to shape future efforts to promote vaccines and strengthen health equity. It also highlights early equity "wins" in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and includes recommendations for ensuring ongoing advances in health equity, now and into the future.
  • A series of locally-focused reports from communities participating in CommuniVax, highlighting their research and experiences with COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
  • A number of webinars to help highlight opportunities and strategies to support equitable community-driven efforts to support COVID-19 vaccination.
  • A series of educational videos that cover topics such as: COVID-19 vaccine safety; vaccine hesitancy; public engagement; and race, racism, and medicine.

These resources continue to be relevant to supporting equitable vaccination and recovery efforts – now and in future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities can also utilize these resource to help prepare for future pandemics and other health threats.

The CommuniVax Coalition is currently engaged in its second phase of work focusing on strengthening the relationships between communities of color and local public health systems. The coalition anticipates developing additional tools communities can use to support this movement in the months ahead.

Beth Weaver


May 10, 2022

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