FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON — Nearly 70 health systems, representing 177 member hospitals, have signed an America’s Essential Hospitals pledge to fight racial and ethnic health care disparities by ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
These essential hospitals have committed to:
- leverage trusted community partnerships to overcome social determinants of health that hinder access to vaccination, including lack of transportation, language barriers, and inflexible work schedules;
- target outreach toward geographic areas where racial, ethnic, or age subgroups have lower vaccination rates and tailor outreach to specific populations, such as people experiencing homelessness;
- work proactively with communities to promote equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines by recognizing the community’s distinctive needs; and
- work with community providers and other stakeholders to offer vaccination in a variety of settings, including emergency departments, other outpatient settings, and mobile sites, and to offer flexible hours, when feasible.
The emergence of the delta variant and resulting spike in hospitalizations have only heightened the need for continued outreach to the communities essential hospitals serve. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data show that while vaccination rates among people of color have improved in recent weeks, they still are lower than would be expected based on their share of the population.
“There is still work to be done to ensure equitable access to vaccines in underserved and marginalized communities,” says Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “As trusted health care providers with a mission to work outside the hospital walls, essential hospitals can play an important role in that work, and we’re proud of their commitment to achieving the Biden administration’s national equity and vaccination goals.”
As leaders in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, essential hospitals have promoted vaccination through mass vaccination sites, targeted community initiatives, and educational campaigns created with community partners. This pledge is just one part of a broader association initiative to combat structural racism.
“Working toward vaccine equity is not only a key response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also a tangible way to fight the urgent public health threat of structural racism,” Siegel says.
# # #
About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at essentialhospitals.org.