The Vermont Health Equity Initiative will have a clinic on Saturday, December 4 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington for people of color to receive COVID vaccines, booster shots and children’s vaccines.
As COVID cases rise again and the Omicron variant makes a landing in the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention remains adamant about the importance of vaccinations and boosters. In Vermont, a gap in vaccination rates persists for people of color and the Vermont Health Equity Initiative is once again trying to fix it.
The nonprofit, one of the first organizations dedicated to health equity in Vermont led by a person of color, held immunization clinics in May and June for people of color to help to close the initial large gap of 13 percentage points of vaccine disparity in March. . They administered 3,400 vaccines. Now, the gap is 2 percentage points with 78% of Vermonters of color having received their first dose compared to 80% of non-Hispanic whites.
The gap in obtaining booster vaccines, however, is greater at 10 percentage points and the gap in childhood immunizations is 4 percentage points. The upcoming Vermont Health Equity Initiative weekend clinics aim to fill these gaps by providing translation services, an information session and a safe space for people of color to receive vaccines.
“The folx and families of BIPOC have suffered trauma within the ‘normal’ hospital or medical system for generations,” Weiwei Wang, executive director of the Vermont Health Equity Initiative, said in a statement. “Therefore, we provide them with a space that is culturally sensitive, culturally assertive and safe. We are here to provide this community with a quality vaccination service that recognizes their humanity and dignity. “
Vermonters of color were able to get COVID vaccines and boosts before vaccines opened up to everyone because of their greater vulnerability to the virus due to systemic inequalities. Vermont was the only state to have named people of color as a category for vaccine deployment and received criticism and reluctance for it.
At this Saturday’s clinic, pediatric vaccines will be available from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Pfizer’s vaccines and booster shots will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jennifer Rosenblum, director of communications for Vermont Health Equity, said at the time. As the sessions are separate on the schedule, families with children and adults can get all of their photos during either session.
Vermont Health Equity will also host an online information session on childhood vaccines with Dr. Anthony Williams, family physician at the University of Vermont Medical Center, on December 7. People can register online (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bipoc-community-virtual-conversations-covid-19-pediatric-vaccination-tickets-221665195567) to participate.
Rosenblum said the clinic each weekend has a different schedule. Clinics will be held every other Saturday, except New Years Day, until March 19, 2022. Check out Vermont Health Equity’s social media for the latest details. Register for a vaccine and check the clinic dates on https://www.vermonthealthequity.org/