Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has highlighted inequities in mortalities and associated illnesses among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic/Latino individuals. Immunization against COVID-19 is critical to ending the pandemic, especially within racial and ethnically minoritized communities. However, vaccine hesitancy and institutional mistrust in these communities, resulting from decades of mistreatment, structural racism, and barriers to vaccination access, have translated into low vaccination uptake. Trustworthy relationships with healthcare professionals and partnerships with faith and community leaders are critical to increasing vaccination rates within these minoritized communities. Loma Linda University researchers collaborated with local faith and community organizations in San Bernardino County, CA, to rapidly implement a three-tiered approach to increase the vaccination rates within non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic/Latino communities. This community-academic partnership model provided over 1700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within these vaccine-hesitant, targeted minoritized communities. As over 100,000 individuals are diagnosed with COVID-19 daily and updated vaccines targeting variants of the Omicron strain are expected to rollout in the coming months, the development of sustainable programs aimed at increasing vaccine uptake within vulnerable communities are of the utmost importance.
Keywords: COVID-19 vaccinations; health equity; racially and ethnically minoritized groups; vaccine equity.