State leaders work on plan for equal access to COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: February 23, 2021 05:52 AM
Created: February 23, 2021 05:50 AM

Tuesday, leaders at both the state and federal levels will turn their efforts to fight COVID-19 toward communities of color.

As vaccinations continue to ramp up, people in those communities are still seeing higher chances of hospitalizations due to COVID, and even death.

As the state continues with the initial push to get those 65 and older vaccinated, the state is figuring out how best to target specific populations to make sure everyone is getting equal access.

Officials already started that process last week by rolling out the Vaccine Connector tool.

The online questionnaire asks about demographics, including race and ethnicity. State leaders tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS those questions are designed to make sure the state meets its goals for equity and fairness.

Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz will be meeting with organization leaders in Minneapolis to make sure Black, Indigenous and people of color know about the tool and to make sure there aren’t any language barrier issues.

While this will help officials better understand how the state is handling the vaccine rollout, leaders say they have already started to gather some of that data.

"We are kind of analyzing the race and ethnicity data that we have from our state administered sites as well as getting more of that desegregated data from our health care provider partners and pharmacies,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

As for when information about how the state is handling vaccinations for people of color could be released, officials said they are not yet ready to share any specific numbers.

Also happening Tuesday, President Joe Biden will be holding a virtual roundtable with Black essential workers to discuss their critical roles during the pandemic.

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