Build Confidence in Reaching Diverse Communities

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the longstanding need to address barriers to health equity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines health equity as when all members of society enjoy a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Several factors affect health equity: discrimination, health care access and use, occupation, education, income and wealth gaps, and housing. For example, people in racial and ethnic minority groups often work in essential settings, and many members of these communities live in crowded living spaces. These factors can increase a person’s likelihood of being infected with COVID-19, making it pivotal that these communities feel vaccine confident.

Key Points

  • Ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines will be essential to mitigate the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic for underserved populations, prevent widening disparities in the future, and achieve broad population immunity.
  • Patients should know that the COVID-19 vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of people—a more extensive and diverse group than usual for most clinical trials. In total, the Pfizer and Moderna trials enrolled more than 10,000 Hispanic patients and more than 6,000 Black patients.
  • Building a foundation of trust and understanding is a critical first step in reaching diverse communities. In the Black community, for example, there is a longstanding distrust of medical care in the United States due to previous situations such as the Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. Many minoritized communities experience a lack of access to care today and may receive subpar care.
  • Some of the COVID-19 vaccine researchers themselves represent diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Information for Pharmacy Teams

Watch APhA’s open forum webinar on helping underserved patients overcome COVID-19 vaccine concerns to learn practical information on how to improve access and uptake of vaccines while taking into account social determinants of health that result in health disparities.
Read the JAPhA article Socialized and Traumatized: Pharmacists, Underserved Patients, and the COVID-19 Vaccine to learn about the views and ideas of minority pharmacists on critical health issues, the complexity of the COVID-19 vaccine among underrepresented groups, and steps and strategies to understand vaccine hesitancy and meet the needs of underserved patients.
Watch APhA’s CPE webinar on Increasing Vaccine Confidence Among At-Risk or Diverse Populations to hear an expert discuss racial and ethnic disparities in vaccine delivery, barriers to vaccination, risk factors for COVID-19 infection, aspects of vaccine hesitancy related to underserved populations, and approaches to building vaccine confidence.
Review CDC’s resource A Guide for Community Partners: Increasing COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake Among Members of Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities to learn how organizations with community-level reach can engage in or support COVID-19 vaccine confidence and access in racial and ethnic minority communities.
Utilize APhA’s guide to Understanding the “System Distrusters.” This resource can be used as a playbook to effectively talk with patients and address their specific concerns.
Take this short quiz Hesitancy vs. Confidence of COVID-19 Vaccination: Focus on Special Populations to test your knowledge and understand the reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among special populations.
Watch APhA’s CPE webinar on Understanding the “Why” to Effectively Promote Vaccine Confidence – Strategies to Engage With Communities Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19 to learn strategies to help build trust and promote COVID-19 vaccine confidence in communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Watch APhA’s CPE webinar on Trusted Sources of Health Care Information and Services: Strategies for Bolstering Vaccine Confidence Within the Hispanic Community to learn from experts as they discuss factors that contribute to vaccine confidence and acceptance, how access to health care impacts patients’ ability and willingness to get vaccinated, and key cultural considerations when working with Hispanic communities.
Read the Pharmacy Today article Listen to Your Patients’ ‘Why’ to learn from pharmacists from around the country who have relentlessly addressed concerns in their diverse communities.
Read the Kaiser Family Foundation’s report on Racial Diversity Within COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials to review the importance of racial diversity in clinical trials and the implications of diversity in COVID-19 vaccine trials.
Watch APhA’s short video on COVID-19 Vaccines and the Latinx Community to hear a pharmacist share that her advice for building vaccine confidence is to talk with patients about how getting sick with COVID-19 could impact their ability to work and support their families.
Read pharmacist success stories about how to reach diverse communities effectively:

Information for Patients

Visit the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants to access free, customizable, and translated vaccine campaigns for anyone to use.