The Initiative, which will promote equitable vaccine distribution, aims to raise $15M to match government dollars allocated to vaccine outreach and education - totaling $30M of combined private and public investment.
WASHINGTON - Today, the All In WA COVID-19 relief campaign and community partners across the state launched the All In WA Vaccine Equity Initiative in response to inequitable vaccine distribution among communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The Initiative targets and streamlines funds to trusted and known, community-based organizations who can conduct linguistically and culturally-specific vaccine education and outreach, as well as safely facilitate mobile and pop-up vaccine clinics for those who want to get vaccinated.
The Seattle Times recently reported that while 67% of Washington residents who received initial doses were white, only 48% of the state’s cases of COVID-19 have been among white patients. Data shows the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants, refugees, and rural and remote residents - yet they are significantly under-vaccinated. This reporting is confirmed by new data released by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) showing low percentages of Hispanic, Black and Multiracial people have received COVID-19 vaccine when compared to those group’s proportion of the state population.
“The pandemic has intensified long-existing inequities that threaten countless families. Access to vaccines must help close that gap, not widen it,” said Jesus Hernandez, CEO, Family Health Centers in Okanogan County. “We also cannot ignore that BIPOC communities have faced a painful history of systemic racism in our public health and medical systems. This is why the All In WA Vaccine Equity Initiative directs support to trusted and known organizations who are located in heavily impacted communities and are most familiar with their needs and concerns. They are best equipped to help communities recover by disseminating critical vaccine information and expanding safe vaccine access to community members who need and want them.”
The grant funds will be administered by the All In WA Advisory Group and are flexible. Funding will be distributed to organizations based on regions and communities with the highest need. The Initiative aims to raise $15 million to match WA state government dollars allocated to vaccine outreach and education - totaling $30 million of combined private and public investment. The Initiative has support from key philanthropic partners, including The Starbucks Foundation and Premera Blue Cross.
“Vaccine access is critical to making sure our state recovers from this crisis,” said WA Governor Jay Inslee. “The All In WA Vaccine Equity Initiative ensures that our hardest-hit communities have the information and resources they need to get vaccinated. I’m deeply appreciative of our philanthropic sector who has stepped up and quickly mobilized funds to bolster the efforts of our state agencies and fill support gaps so that every Washingtonian who wants a vaccine can get one - regardless of who they are or where they live.”
Due to difficulties accessing accurate information, online registration, and appointments as a result of language, digital, and mobility barriers, existing inequities are widening every day - compromising the health of vulnerable families and elderly residents. The funds will aid vaccine registration and help provide transportation assistance so those who want to be vaccinated can get access. Funds will also expand community organization staffing and outreach capacity, fund translated materials and phone and text banking to reach historically and currently underserved communities.
“At the City, we are deeply committed to ensuring our BIPOC communities and immigrant and refugee communities have equitable access to the vaccine. The vast majority of people vaccinated by our Seattle Fire Department mobile teams identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities, and many face other systemic barriers to vaccination including mobility challenges, speaking a language other than English, and being uninsured. Those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic should be the first to get vaccinated, and Seattle and Washington state can lead in the way in equitable access. We also know that those closest to the problem remain closest to the solution, and All In Washington and the philanthropic sector are coming together at a critical moment to provide our community-based organizations with the resources needed to help ensure an equitable distribution of the vaccine,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan.
“Throughout the pandemic, communities of color have borne the brunt of the disease, so I’m very pleased that the Vaccine Equity Initiative will help expand our work with community organizations across King County,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We know the best path forward is to align resources and ensure that public health organizations work directly with the communities they serve. This fund will help make that a reality across Washington.”
The Vaccine Equity Initiative is hosted by Seattle Foundation and All In Washington - a coordinated, statewide relief effort of nonprofits, community leaders, businesses and philanthropies that support workers and families who have been acutely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. All In WA will serve as the intermediary of the Vaccine Equity Initiative and streamline resources to community based-organizations. The campaign has successfully launched similar initiative models, distributing over $12 million of grants to majority BIPOC-led and BIPOC-serving organizations in child care, youth behavioral health, and emergency flexible financial assistance.
All In Washington launched in May 2020 and surpassed its goal of raising over $100 million to address needs with food shortages, health disparities, housing, small business assistance, and more for COVID-19 relief. Now, the campaign continues to play a role in long-term COVID-19 recovery through the Vaccine Equity Initiative. To learn more and contribute to the Vaccine Equity Initiative, please visit allinwa.org/vaccine-equity-initiative.