Johns Hopkins shares proposal for equitable vaccine distribution

Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University has released a proposal meant to guide officials working to advance equity in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. 

Immediate efforts to ensure that historically underserved populations receive potentially life-sustaining vaccines can propel an even broader process of social reparation and improvement for communities of color, according to the proposal "Equity in Vaccination: A Plan to Work with Communities of Color Toward COVID-19 Recovery and Beyond."

The Johns Hopkins proposal provides officials with the tools to develop and implement a vaccination strategy that works with communities of color to remedy COVID-19 disparities, prevent further health burdens, lay the foundation for unbiased healthcare delivery and enable broader social change.

The five key principles of the plan are:

1. Iteration: Repeated engagement with communities of color is necessary. Vaccination urgency must be balanced with the need to build real trust in these communities.  

2. Involvement: Community representatives must be active collaborators in the public health process. This involves implementing two-way communication mechanisms and engaging with these key representatives as partners, not as audiences to persuade or subordinates to command.  

3. Information: Effective communication is essential. Officials must recognize that vaccination messages must be tailored to address the specific concerns of local communities of color.  

4. Investment: All efforts described above require investments of time, attention and funding. 

5. Integration: COVID-19 will have long-lasting physical, psychological and financial effects, especially in communities of color. Because of this, the vaccination campaign cannot be viewed as a final step in returning to "normal." Instead, it needs to be seen as a step toward a more complete recovery that includes meaningful social change.  

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