Washington Officials: Funds needed to ensure vaccine reaches minorities

Jacquelyn Martin
FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo five doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine that received emergency use authorization are seen before they are distributed to doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital in Washington.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state and local leaders on Monday announced a sweeping effort to raise $30 million in private and public funds to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine makes it to residents who live in under-served and minority communities that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

Gov. Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan participated in the hour-long meeting to talk about the campaign, known as The All in WA Vaccine Equity Initiative, and why it is needed, KOMO-TV reported.

“Vaccine access is critical to making sure our state recovers from this crisis,” Inslee said. “The All In WA Vaccine Equity Initiative ensures that our hardest-hit communities have the information and resources they need to get vaccinated.”

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The initiative aims to raise $15 million in private funds that will be added to a matching $15 million in public funds. The money will be administered by the All In WA Advisory Group and are flexible. Funding will be distributed to organizations based on regions and communities with the highest need, the statement said.

State and local officials announce a plan to expand access to COVID-19 vaccine doses in minority communities. The money will be awarded to “trusted and known, community-based organizations who can conduct linguistically and culturally specific vaccine education and outreach, as well as safely facilitate mobile and pop-up vaccine clinics for those who want to get vaccinated,” officials said.

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The group’s statement pointed to data that has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, immigrants, refugees, and rural and remote residents but they are significantly under-vaccinated.

News of the announcement follows in the wake of a comprehensive report issued last week by state health officials that found that Black, Hispanic and multi-racial populations in Washington state are underrepresented in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

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