Families USA Spearheads Strategic Initiative to Galvanize Action on Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution - Families Usa Skip to Main Content
05.25.2021 / Press Release

Families USA Spearheads Strategic Initiative to Galvanize Action on Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

For Immediate Release:
May 25, 2021

Media Contacts:
Lisa Holland, Families USA
lholland@familiesusa.org | 202-695-5160

Tekisha Dwan Everette, PhD, Health Equity Solutions
teverette@hesct.org | 860-461-7637

Sam Eisele, Manatt Health
seisele@manatt.com | 212-704-1998

Families USA Spearheads Strategic Initiative to Galvanize Action on Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The Rockefeller Foundation Grant Helps Ensure Greater Access to Vaccines for BIPOC Communities and Build Long-Standing Change

As the country continues to grapple with the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the health and economic well-being of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), Families USA is launching a strategic initiative to help states and communities equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccinations. This effort – made possible with financial support from The Rockefeller Foundation and in partnership with Health Equity Solutions and Manatt Health – will help achieve the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative’s national equity goal of vaccinating at least 70 million people of color by July 2021. The project also aims to inform equitable responses to provide immunization boosters and other key health equity concerns.

Since April 19, 2021, all U.S. adults ages 16 and up have been eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, and yet just over a third of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, and the pace of vaccinations has fallen by more than a million doses a day from its peak in mid-April. At the same timestudies continue to show that BIPOC communities do not have access to the vaccine at the same rateseven as they have experienced disproportionately high rates of pandemicrelated illness and death. This persistent inequity also could impact future responses to the pandemic, including providing booster immunizations should they become necessary.

“It is well understood that BIPOC communities are bearing the brunt of this pandemic. A vaccination strategy aimed at reducing death and illness from COVID-19 must prioritize the hardest-hit communities,” said Frederick Isasi, Executive Director of Families USA. “This initiative will both galvanize state and community action to address vaccine distribution disparities and build a sustainable infrastructure to take on deeper and long-term inequities.”

In collaboration with a network of state and local partners, the initiative will work with key decision-makers – Congress, governors, and the Biden administration – to advance an equity-focused vaccination response. This includes calling for:

  • Scaling successful, community-led interventions from The Rockefeller Foundation’s Equity-First Vaccination Initiative and its partners across the U.S.;
  • Calling for comprehensive race and ethnicity data to understand the challenges and barriers in BIPOC communities;
  • Building capacity within communities to lay a foundation for addressing long-standing inequities both during the pandemic and after.

“Unless policymakers and other decision-makers finally address the underlying causes of this disenfranchisement, under-resourced and forgotten communities will continue to be underserved,” said Tekisha Dwan Everette, PhD, Executive Director of Health Equity Solutions. “After years of reckoning with racial and social justice, centering health equity by ensuring communities that have been marginalized are a top priority for vaccinations should be a no-brainer.”

“States play a key role in equitable vaccine distribution, both while there is a short supply and as vaccine supply increases,” said Patricia Boozang, senior managing director with Manatt Health. “We look forward to partnering with Families USA and Health Equity Solutions on this important initiative and helping states identify and address barriers to equitable vaccine distribution in a way that lays the foundation for advancing health equity within our health system more broadly.”

This initiative builds on Families USA’s recently released roadmap, Equity in COVID-19 Vaccines: Emerging Lessons from the Front Lines, aimed at helping states intentionally focus on effectively vaccinating BIPOC populations and building long-lasting structural change.


About Families USA
Families USA, a leading national voice for health care consumers, is dedicated to the achievement of high quality, affordable health care and improved health for all. 

About Health Equity Solutions
Health Equity Solutions is a nonprofit organization with a statewide focus on promoting policies, programs, and practices that result in equitable health care access, delivery, and outcomes for all people in Connecticut.

About Manatt Health

Manatt Health integrates legal and consulting expertise to better serve the complex needs of clients across the health care system. Combining legal excellence, firsthand experience in shaping public policy, sophisticated strategy insight, and deep analytic capabilities, we provide uniquely valuable professional services to the full range of health industry players. Our diverse team of more than 160 attorneys and consultants from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, and its consulting subsidiary, Manatt Health Strategies, LLC, is passionate about helping our clients advance their business interests, fulfill their missions and lead health care into the future. For more information, visit www.manatt.com/health.