The Biden Administration is tackling COVID-19-related inequities within minority communities. Vice President Kamala Harris announced Monday that they plan to offer $250 million in federal grants to organizations that are working to close the racial gap in the nation’s pandemic response.
“Our goal is to provide underserved communities with the information they need to stay safe and to get vaccinated,” Harris said. “And remember, information and education, of course, save lives. When folks have the information and the education, they have the tools that equip them to take care of themselves and their family.”
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) will lead the initiative, which is called “Advancing Health Literacy to Enhance Equitable Community Responses to Covid-19.” HHS will offer grants to organizations that will help improve things like testing and contact tracing. Additionally, over the course of the next two years, HHS will fund 30 projects in urban communities. The agency says it will be accepting applications through April 20.
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According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted minority communities, leaving people of color more vulnerable to infection and death. What exacerbates things is the Black community’s distrust of medical experts, given centuries of medical malpractice. As a result, Black people tend to be skeptical and less likely to seek the vaccine. At this time, 32 million people have received at least one vaccine dose. If you break that down by race, according to the CDC, 65.4% were white, 8.5% were Black, 7.1 % were Hispanic and 4.7% were Asian.
Harris received both of her vaccine doses live on television in an attempt to convince the Black community that the vaccine is safe and a sure bet for surviving coronavirus. The Biden administration hopes this latest initiative will do far more to encourage and assist minority communities who desperately need to be protected from the deadly pandemic.