COVID-19 VACCINE EQUITY ACT
Black and Latinx residents of Massachusetts so far have received the COVID-19 vaccine at rates far lower than the overall population despite the virus taking a disproportionate toll on these communities. An Act Effectuating Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination aims to close those gaps, reduce barriers to immunization, and reach vaccine parity.
When adjusted for age, the COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents in Massachusetts is over three times higher for Black residents than for white residents.
COMPONENTS OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE EQUITY ACT
The legislation requires the Baker administration to take a number of actions to expand access to vaccination and testing in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including:
appointing a director of COVID-19 vaccination equity and outreach whose sole focus is addressing disparities in vaccination rates rooted in racism, mistrust of government, and disparate access to information and resources;
partnering with trusted local organizations, including local boards of health, for direct outreach campaigns, including through phone calls, text messages, door to door canvassing, and interactive digital events, to deliver information and support relative to the COVID-19 vaccine in the hardest-hit communities;
creating a vaccination vehicle program for mobile vaccination in communities with the highest rates of COVID-19 test positivity;
appointing an expert on vaccine disinformation to the Vaccine Advisory Group;
expanding Stop the Spread testing sites to all gateway cities; and
requiring the Executive Branch to make detailed vaccination implementation and equity plans publicly available, as well as provide weekly updates on the status of the rollout.