On Thursday, health experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discussed the challenges involved in rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations.
Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana, the Senior Scientist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, spoke about what is needed to ensure that vaccines are distributed in an equitable way that people in underserved communities have access.
According to The Associated Press, this comes as Democratic lawmakers are pushing health experts to address racial disparity in vaccine access nationwide.
Dr. Schoch-Spana said that we have to invest in assets, and hopefully, we will see more pandemic relief dollars channeled to these types of things.
"We need time on an executive schedule health department to engage in strategic planning around communities," Dr. Schoch-Spana said during the briefing. "We need dedicated equity advisors who can steer the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign among these communities and multi-lingual staff who can navigate the communities skillfully and budgets to regulate meetings."
Dr. Schoch-Spana added that they also need to strengthen community-based organizations that have roots in hard-hit communities.
Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor at Johns Hopkins, added that several vaccines are currently heading down the pipeline: Oxford-AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.
Dr. Beyrer said the Oxford vaccine is already in use in the U.K.
Dr. Beyrer said the rollout has been slow and challenging, and there have been viable vaccines being thrown away instead of immunizing after defrosting, which he said is not OK.
"This will be easier if we have emergency use of vaccines that are down the pipeline, which could be any day now," Dr. Beyrer said.