Communities of color have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, having disproportionately high case, hospitalization and death rates across the U.S. and in Colorado. This disparate impact on communities of color is in large part due to systemic health inequities fueled by past and ongoing racism. Racism in the medical field has led to decreased trust in vaccines, and more hesitancy. To make matters worse, the anti-vaccine movement has recently targeted communities of color, specifically, with misinformation about vaccines in order to sow increased doubt and dissuade them from getting vaccinated.
By Amy Bell
February is Black History Month—a time meant to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and honor the significant impacts they have had on all facets of life throughout U.S. history. As we witness the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado, it is important to recognize that the development of this critical tool that will help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic would not have been possible without healthcare and scientific leaders from the Black community—leaders whose efforts, contributions and mark on society will be celebrated for years to come. Here we highlight just a few of these remarkable individuals:
By Ellie Dullea
Healthcare workers play an essential role as trusted vaccine advocates in the community. In a 2017 survey of 400+ Colorado parents, medical doctors were found to be the most influential factor in parents’ plan for their children’s immunizations. Similarly, immunization providers will play a vital role in increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates by easing patient concerns about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and offering strong recommendations for vaccination.
By Olwen Menez
The CO-mmunity Corps blog series highlights the incredible work that members of the CO-mmunity Corps (Immunize Colorado’s AmeriCorps VISTA program) are doing across Colorado to build capacity for immunization programs.
On August 3rd, I started my first day as an Immunization Outreach and Education Coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health, the county agency that provides public health services to a large area just east of Denver, Colorado that includes urban, suburban, rural and mountain communities. Its almost 800 square miles is home to close to 600,00 diverse residents. I was placed at the Jefferson County Public Health department by Immunize Colorado to provide a year of national service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program.