New ASTHO Program Aims to Increase Equity in Adult Immunization
March 07, 2022
ARLINGTON, VA—Today, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) is announcing the launch of a new national program aimed at reducing disparities in vaccination rates to advance health equity and reduce the burden of vaccine preventable disease among adults.
ASTHO, alongside the National Community Action Partnership (NCAP), will work to engage a network of local community action teams in five geographic areas. Implementation will focus on advancing equity in distribution, administration, and/or uptake of immunization among adult racial and ethnic minority groups and rural populations.
“National studies have indicated that racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States face an increased risk of illness and death from COVID-19. Since the initial rollout of vaccines, data has also shown that individuals living in rural communities or who lack equitable access to health care, affordable housing, and other social determinants of health were less likely to be fully vaccinated. This project represents a significant step in advancing the pursuit of health equity not just for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, but for adult vaccinations across the board. The results of this work will be instrumental in informing future vaccination efforts in our member states and territories,” says Michael Fraser, CEO of ASTHO.
ASTHO and NCAP selected five pilot sites for this project, they include:
- Community Action Program for Central Arkansas – White County, Arkansas
- Pickens Community Action – Pickens County, Alabama
- Enrichment Services Program, Inc. – Russell County, Alabama; Troup and Stewart Counties, Georgia
- Community Action Partnership of Kern – Kern County, California
- Palmetto Community Action Partnership – Berkeley County, South Carolina
The project will include an expert committee comprised of several partner organizations including the Association of American Indian Physicians, Center for Healthy Aging at the New York Academy of Medicine, Faith4Vaccines, National Association of Community Health Workers, National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, National Hispanic Medical Association, Pacific Island Health Officers Association, National Medical Association, and the National Association of State Offices of Minority Health.
Over the yearlong project, ASTHO, NCAP, and all advisory committee members will support local agencies in selecting strategies and implementing action plans by providing technical assistance, engaging in site visits, enabling opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, developing community and provider-oriented resource toolkits, and hosting a culminating meeting to share lessons learned. ASTHO has selected Gramercy Research Group to evaluate activities and a final report of promising practices will be disseminated upon project completion.
ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and Freely Associated States, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.