New Report Provides States with Strategies to Prioritize Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations

Press Release

New Report Provides States with Strategies to Prioritize Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations


April 1, 2021

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2021 at 9:00 am

New Report Provides States with Strategies to Prioritize Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations
Washington, DC - As COVID-19 vaccine supply expands and states work to vaccinate adults in the weeks and months ahead, prioritizing equity will be essential to ensuring swift access to and uptake of vaccines across all populations. A new report highlights promising actions states can take to promote equitable vaccination amongst historically marginalized communities. The report, issued by the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA), with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled Prioritizing Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations: Promising Practices from States to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities, provides strategies to reduce systemic barriers to vaccine access and improve race and ethnicity data to inform vaccine distribution.

“The nation’s historically marginalized populations continue to bear a disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hemi Tewarson, Visiting Senior Policy Fellow, Duke-Margolis. “Equitable vaccination requires state strategies that increase accessibility, build trust, and enable community partnerships.”

“Availability to vaccination does not necessarily translate to access,” said Andrea Thoumi, Health Equity Policy Fellow, Duke-Margolis. “States need to take intentional efforts to reduce systemic inequities that underpin COVID-19 health outcomes and vaccination rates among Black, Latinx, and American Indian populations.”

The report describes four primary approaches and highlights illustrative strategies designed to increase equity in vaccination rates from over 20 states:

  • Strategies in Approach 1 focus on improving collection and reporting of race and ethnicity data to identify disparities in allocation and distribution.
  • Strategies in Approach 2 address inequities in allocation and availability of COVID-19 vaccines among communities exhibiting the greatest need.
  • Strategies in Approach 3 mitigate the effect of systemic barriers that result in differential access to COVID-19 vaccines among historically marginalized populations.
  • Strategies in Approach 4 aim to amplify existing community-based strategies to increase acceptability, trust, and access among historically marginalized populations.

This report builds on a series of work led by Duke-Margolis and NGA to address health equity in COVID-19 response. In November 2020, Duke-Margolis and NGA launched the COVID-19 Health Equity Learning Network, which convenes health equity COVID-19 task force leaders from across the United States to share innovative state practices for advancing health equity. In December 2020, Duke-Margolis and NGA also partnered with COVID Collaborative to publish an analysis of state and territorial COVID-19 vaccination plans, highlighting equitable access to vaccines as a critical issue. Duke-Margolis has also partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to develop a report on state- and local-level strategies for testing in communities.


About the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

The mission of the Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy at Duke University is to improve health, health equity, and the value of health care through practical, innovative, and evidence-based policy solutions. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @DukeMargolis.

Media Contact

Patricia Green, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy

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