UnidosUS Hails Biden Administration Funding to Expand Access and Confidence in the COVID-19 Vaccines

$10 Billion for outreach and access to vaccines will save lives, especially among the hard-hit Latino community

WASHINGTON, DC—In response to the White House announcement today that it would be investing $10 billion in outreach and access to the COVID-19 vaccines for underserved communities as part of the American Rescue Plan, UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía issued the following statement:

“We are grateful to see that when President Biden made equity a centerpiece of his coronavirus response and recovery plan, he meant it. Since the first vaccines against COVID-19 were announced, we at UnidosUS have been calling for the Latino community to be fully included in all vaccination information and distribution efforts. The pandemic has hit Hispanics and other communities of color disproportionately hard and for the Latino community, it has been especially devastating. Hispanics are twice as likely to get COVID-19, four times as likely to be hospitalized for it and three times as likely as to die from it.

“Why? Because a full 70 percent of Latinos in the workforce are considered essential workers. Many Hispanics have put their lives at risk to keep the economy moving. But we’re still among the least likely to be vaccinated at this point because of a lack of access and information on how to do so. Out of all vaccines administered nationwide, only 8.7 percent has gone to Latinos.

“And that’s why President Biden’s $10 billion pledge is so important to communities of color, including Latinos. This funding will expand desperately needed vaccination sites throughout the country and help support members of our network of 300 Affiliates and other grassroots organizations who are trusted members of their communities. Among them are more than a dozen federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and a network of community health workers—promotores de salud—who are trusted messengers in their communities. They have been providing information to build confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. The $6 billion investment in community health centers and $330 million for community health workers will allow them to expand on these efforts.

“To help end this pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration understands that we need to get all people vaccinated—and quickly. There are steps to be taken that can ensure equitable vaccine access for all, and this increase in funding will make it easier to take those steps quickly and confidently.”