Members of Congress to Hear from Leading Latino Group on Vaccine Equity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 19, 2021

Congressional briefing comes as vaccination rates show deep disparity between white and communities of color nationwide.

Washington, DC - Today, at a briefing of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Hispanic Federation President and CEO Frankie Miranda will testify on the need for significant federal efforts to address the harmful inequities related to COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Despite having some of the highest COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death rates, Latinos across the country are currently being vaccinated at a slower rate than their white counterparts.

Miranda will speak on behalf of the Hispanic Federation’s network of 300 Latino-led nonprofits, many of which are currently a part of the organization’s $16 million Latino COVID-19 Relief Fund—the largest of its kind in the nation.

In his oral and written testimony, Miranda will provide steps Congress can take to make the vaccination process as successful as possible for the Latino community. These steps include:

  • Lowering barriers to vaccine access by funding the creation of more targeted vaccination sites, including mobile vaccination sites, and door-to-door, person-to-person, language and culturally appropriate outreach to offer vaccines.
  • Allocating funding to community-based non-profits that have the cultural competence to educate and combat the misinformation and distrust rampant in Latino communities, including designing education and outreach programs modeled on successful community-based census programs.
  • Further support Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) participating in vaccine distribution by providing federal resources for outreach, community education, and follow-up care.
  • Repurposing non-profit ACA Health Care Navigators to provide case management assistance to people in low income and high health disparity communities to sign up for vaccinations.
  • Developing federal distribution guidelines based on need and impact, including guardrails and oversight to prevent abuse and jumping the line, especially while shortages remain.
  • Expanding confidence in seeking vaccinations by assuring undocumented immigrants who have spent the last four years in constant fear of family separation that seeking essential government services like COVID-related health care and vaccines will not endanger or be counted against them.

As an example of a successful model, Miranda cited Hispanic Federation’s recently launched VIDA initiative which provided funding to 15 Latino-serving FQHCs around the country to cover unfunded expenses necessary for effective distribution of the vaccine in underserved communities, including education, outreach, staffing, and transportation costs for low-income clients.

“We have spent the better part of a year listening to public health professionals and physicians warn us about how the coronavirus feeds off the underlying conditions of patients,” Miranda said. “But the truth is that the coronavirus also feeds off the underlying conditions of the nation which for Latinos is often grounded in a history of exclusion, neglect, and racism that has deep roots in the United States. We must also address these issues to fully respond to the challenge which lies before us.”

The Select Subcommittee will also hear from Dr. Helene D. Gayle, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Chicago Community Trust; Abigail Echo-Hawk, Chief Research Officer of Seattle Indian Health Board, Urban Indian Health Institute; and Lathran Woodard, Chief Executive Officer, South Carolina Primary Health Care Association.

The briefing begins (February 19th) at 2:30pm ET and will be livestreamed on the Subcommittee’s website and YouTube.

Read Frankie Miranda’s Delivered Remarks Here.

Read Hispanic Federation’s Full Written Remarks Here.

Matthew Rojas