What are some effective strategies that we can use to reach underserved communities and drive vaccine equity?

A Shot at Vaccine Equity

April 1, 2021

National Minority Health Month is celebrated every year in April. This year, the theme is #VaccineReady, which is focused on the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on minority communities and the need for these groups to get vaccinated as soon as it is available to them.

To promote equitable access to the vaccine, we’re asking the experts.… What are some effective strategies that we can use to reach underserved communities and drive vaccine equity?

When we think about the vaccine rollout, one of the big things that is being overlooked is this focus on equitable access to the vaccine and making sure that those barriers that typically exist are removed for individuals. When we think about working with community partners, that is the main focus and priority that we should have with them.

Sabina Loscalzo, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Unite Us

Marketers need to focus on differentiating not just the messaging, but where those messages are being placed. I cannot emphasize this enough—different demographics consume media and place their trust in sources in unique ways. There is certainly a need for better data to inform media buying decisions and COVID-19 has really opened a lot of eyes to just how dire the need is to amplify messaging to underserved populations. There are examples where quick actions were taken—in Michigan for example, where infection rates and fatalities disproportionately impacted communities of color, just as they did nationally. Officials there acted fast and created a task force to address disparity to great affect – African Americans are now underrepresented in COVID-19 cases and deaths. One of the big takeaways here for marketers is the need for quick, collective action and to delve deeper into the data to understand disparity in order to create better outcomes. 

Andrea Palmer, President, Publicis Health Media

First, marketers must begin by meeting these communities where they are. There needs to be both full acknowledgement of the unique, historical path to medical distrust including vaccine hesitancy as well as the broader implications to the overall health of these communities.  Secondly, this understanding and empathy need to paired with effective action to ensure that these communities have equitable access to the efforts to engage/educate them as well as the solutions (i.e. vaccination, treatment) needed to heal them. Marketers should recruit credible messengers from the scientific, medical and lay communities to help provide legitimacy to their campaigns.  Finally, just as the historical steps to vaccine hesitancy and medical distrust in minority communities have been enduring, so does the commitment to combat it need be. The messaging has to be relevant, layered and responsive.

Khandra Tyler-Beynum, MD, Chief Medical Officer, CLIO Consulting LLC

There has been success from the clinical trial side by partnering with local non-profits, churches, barber shops, beauty salons—places that people frequent and where they feel more comfortable—to bring greater awareness around the benefits of vaccines and addressing those issues of the past which may be feeding the level of skepticism they have around the vaccines.

Christopher Boone, PhD, VP, Global Head, Health Economics & Outcomes Research, AbbVie

To get more insights from these thought leaders read PulsePoint’s latest special report: The Marketer’s Guide to Taking the Vaccine Viral.

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