Rep. Maloney Emphasizes Need for Equitable Vaccine Distribution and Increased Vaccine Supply to New Yorkers and All Americans

Feb 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — At today’s Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis briefing entitled “Ensuring Equity In Coronavirus Vaccinations,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, highlighted the great need that New York and other states have for an increased coronavirus vaccine supply, noting that this shortage has disproportionately affected minority, rural, and low-income communities.

During the briefing, Congresswoman Maloney stated, “I am very concerned that communities of color, rural communities, and low-income communities are falling behind in vaccinations.  In my home city of New York, predominantly Black and Latino communities have been vaccinated at lower rates than predominantly White neighborhoods.  There are reasons for these disparities, but one is that New York and other states simply need more doses of the vaccine.

“[…] I am grateful that the Biden Administration has already made great strides in increasing the supply of coronavirus [vaccines]. That includes buying an additional 200 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines so the country will soon have enough doses to vaccinate all adults. It also includes ramping up weekly distribution to states and sending doses directly to pharmacies and community health centers. We must do everything in our power to make sure that all Americans have access to vaccines as soon as possible.”

When inquiring about what actions have led to these disparities, the Congresswoman asked, “Could more have been done last summer and fall to prepare for distribution of coronavirus vaccines?”

In responding to the Congresswoman, Abigail Echo-Hawk, Chief Research Officer, Seattle Indian Health Board and Director, Urban Indian Health Institute stated, “Absolutely yes. Like I said, we received a box of body bags instead of the materials that we need and that was evident to the resources that we are receiving. In your home state of New York, looking at the data report that I just put out today, they are actually ranked second to last in the recording of race and ethnicity data. So unfortunately, when we talk about the statistics of who’s getting what and returns of the vaccination, [what] you cited is terrible, but I guarantee you it is much, much worse.”

You can watch the full exchange here.

 

Background

Under the Trump Administration, the early vaccine rollout advantaged wealthier communities over communities of color, low-income communities, and rural communities, even though members of these communities are contracting and dying from the coronavirus at disproportionate rates.

The Biden Administration has already taken critical steps to increase equity in vaccines, including sending doses to Community Health Centers. Congress must build on this progress by passing the President’s American Rescue Plan, which will fund a comprehensive national vaccination campaign that includes community vaccination centers and mobile vaccination sites to reach underserved communities, as well as provide funds for public health departments to hire 100,000 public health workers whose duties will include vaccine outreach.

 

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