Earlier, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted a virtual roundtable focused on increasing routine pediatric and adult vaccinations. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, less children and adults have been getting routine vaccinations, which leaves them more at risk for illness. This impact has been felt hardest by children in communities of color and in rural areas.
During the roundtable, participants discussed increasing vaccine confidence, expanding data reporting structures, and improving access to routine vaccinations through school-based vaccine clinics and pharmacist delivery systems. Participants also discussed ways to improve access to public health resources by leveraging pandemic infrastructure.
In response to comments about leveraging pandemic infrastructure, the Secretary shared a story he recently heard during a visit to Jacksonville, Florida, where he met with a group called Black Men Engaged that’s partnering with HHS on the Public Education Campaign. An individual in the group directly correlated his advocacy work in vaccine confidence and other forms of preventative care to his decision to schedule a cancer screening that saved his life.
Much like the group in Jacksonville, the roundtable agreed that sustaining and building on pandemic infrastructure designed to reach underserved populations will not only increase vaccine confidence and uptake, but will also build a healthier America across racial, ethnic, geographic, and age groups. In addition, during their presentations, many participants emphasized the importance of utilizing trusted community voices to amplify vaccine uptake.
Secretary Becerra closed the roundtable by underscoring his commitment, along with the Biden-Harris Administration, to meet communities where they are – particularly communities of color and rural communities. He also thanked participants for sharing their ideas and for their continued efforts to increase routine vaccinations.
Participants, including representatives from provider and pharmacy associations and advocacy organizations, are listed below.
- National Medical Association (NMA)
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- National Rural Health Association (NRHA)
- National Association of School Nurses (NASN)
- American Pharmacists Association (APhA)
- Association of Immunization Managers (AIM)
- Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC)
- Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
- Vaccinate Your Family (VYF)