Achieving Vaccine Equity: Resources & Best Practices to Bringing Down Barriers

Find tools, resources and best practices to support your community's efforts in addressing barriers in accessing vaccines—including ease of access, a desire for more and culturally-relevant information, and the need to hear from a trusted messenger.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic in farm

Structural and systemic barriers mean that the people who are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic—including Black and brown people, immigrants and essential workers—have less access to vaccines.

But we know what works. We can can reach underserved communities and address systematic obstacles by investing in trusted community experts, organizations and networks; using culturally resonant primary language materials and outreach; and bringing down barriers to accessing vaccines.

Health care providers and public health share the responsibility to reach all communities and specifically address these barriers. To help support and guide vaccine equity efforts in your community, explore resources and best practices from PHI and our programs.

Bringing Vaccine Equity Access to Californians

See how our Together Toward Health is supporting COVID and vaccine equity

  • 418 CBOs serving as trusted messengers to reach their neighbors
  • 179 awards to churches, community centers, coalitions and more
  • 24.1m committed to support COVID and vaccine equity access

Upcoming web forums

  • Achieving Equity in a Time of Scarcity: Lessons from the COVID-19 Vaccine Experience: Thursday, June 24 | 11:30am-1pm: Hosted by PHI’s Pacific ADA Center, this webinar will review the experiences of Medicaid beneficiaries and people with disabilities in California and nationally related to vaccine prioritization and deployment, and explore lessons for policy and practice that will support greater equity moving forward.

Best practices & resources to guide vaccine equity

  • Video: Reaching Pasadena’s “Hard to Reach” Neighborhoods with Vaccines (6/14/2021): One of PHI’s Tracing Health contact tracing teams is partnering with the City of Pasadena to follow up with prior COVID cases and contacts, to inquire about vaccination status and schedule an appointment if the individual still needs to get vaccinated. In the first month of the effort, the team has scheduled 61 vaccine appointments in Pasadena neighborhoods that have been hardest to reach. The Tracing Health team has developed a strong partnership with the City of Pasadena while meeting every week to discuss wins and barriers.
  • Video: Reaching Transgender Community Members in Vaccine Distribution (5/13/2021): In this Vaccine Equity video, from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California Vaccine Equity Video Series, watch the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) and their community partner, Alianza Translatinx, respond to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on transgender and gender nonconforming (GNC) residents, by hosting a one-day mobile vaccination clinic. The mobile vaccination clinic event was designed to foster an inclusive space, free of discrimination or judgment to ensure that LGBTQ people, particularly transgender and GNC people of color, felt safe and comfortable receiving the vaccine.
  • Web Forum Recording: Hesitancy, Equity, and Transparency: Rolling out the COVID-19 Vaccine (5/6/2021): Trust and trustworthiness are a significant part of achieving equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Tune in to hear from moderator Dr. Mary Pittman, PHI CEO & President, and speakers—including Dr. Bechara Choucair, Vaccinations Coordinator for the White House COVID Response Team, responsible for overseeing the national vaccination efforts under the Biden-Harris administration—to learn how policymakers, health care providers, pharmacies, and community-based organizations can build trust, address population-specific needs, leverage trusted community resources and more.
Man wearing mask in wheelchair

Video: Improving Vaccination Accessibility for Individuals Living with Disabilities

In this Vaccine Equity video, from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California Vaccine Equity Video Series, watch how health leaders from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s Center for Health Equity—in partnership with key community stakeholders with lived experience and organizations that serve communities with disabilities—have developed and are working to implement a set of core recommendations to improve access to COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals living with disabilities.

Watch here

  • Strategy: Bringing Vaccine Clinics to Faith Congregations (4/23/2021): PHI’s Together Toward Health (TTH) funds outreach efforts in 300+ organizations in communities across the state that have been hard-hit by COVID and are under-reached by vaccine and prevention efforts. CBS Sacramento profiles how TTH and the state are partnering with 200 faith-based organizations to provide more than 25,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses at pop-up clinics right in neighborhood places of worship.
  • Webinar Recording: Partnering with Communities to Navigate Equitable Vaccine Access (3/25/2021): In this CDC Foundation webinar recording, community leaders and experts share strategies to address the concerns and needs of communities and overcome challenges of getting people vaccinated. PHI’s Susan Watson shares early lessons learned from our Together Toward Health initiative, which is investing in over 270 local community-based organizations that serve as trusted experts for education, testing and vaccination access in communities most impacted by COVID-19. Get guidance on building on-the-ground collaborations with local organizations, ideas for reaching rural populations including farmworkers, and strategies for partnering with Community Health Workers.

Black and Well in the LBC (3/3/2021)

Watch how the City of Long Beach Health Department launched a series of partnerships with community-based organizations to host mobile vaccination clinics aimed at reaching Black, Latinx and Cambodian community members, to ensure a more equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch Video 1

Riverside Vaccinates Farmworkers (3/9/2021)

See how the Riverside County Public Health Department, in partnership with the Coachella Valley Equity Collaborative (spearheaded by the Desert Healthcare District & Foundation and community-based partners), launched mobile vaccination clinics that brought COVID-19 vaccines directly to farmworkers in the fields.

Watch Video 2

Protect Chicago Plus (3/19/2021)

Find out how Protect Chicago Plus paired the health department with local community organizations and increased the percent of first-dose vaccines going to Black and Latinx people from 18% in the first week of distribution to close to 59% in the most recent week of distribution.

Watch Video 3

  • Tookits & Resources: Find and use toolkits and resources from partners and grantees on the new Together Toward Health website, including a mailer for Punjabi speakers created by grantee Jakara Movement, a Spanish-language song from grantee El Sol Neighborhood to support vaccinations in Latinx communities, and more. Many of these materials are designed to be repurposed and used in your community’s outreach efforts.
  • Communicating about the COVID-19 Vaccines: PHI’s Berkeley Media Studies Group offers sample messages, guidance and tips to help public health leaders communicate more clearly and effectively about vaccines, engage with trusted messengers and bring racial equity forward. See and share our slides on Instagram.
two women behind desk at vaccination site

Video: Health and Housing in St. Louis

See how leaders in St. Louis are partnering with the Department of Health and the Housing Authority to proactively help register hard-hit communities for COVID-19 vaccination and distribute PPE, food and other resources, in this Vaccine Equity video from PHI’s Public Health Alliance of Southern California.

Watch here

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Bringing down barriers to vaccine access

Structural and systemic barriers mean that the people who are hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic—including Black and brown people, immigrants and essential workers—can face the biggest barriers to accessing vaccines. Build skills for boosting vaccine access, with resources, toolkits, training materials and more.

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