Creating Vaccine Equity

With equity-focused practices, we can improve Covid-19 vaccination rates among communities of color.


People of color in the U.S. have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic—yet still face many barriers to receive Covid-19 vaccines.

By working with the people who know their communities best, we can remove barriers and increase access to Covid-19 vaccinations in communities of color—and ensure that at least 90 million people of color are vaccinated by December 2021.

  • 172million

    Americans have been fully vaccinated, averaging out to 52% of Americans vaccinated as of August 31st, 2021.

  • < 1/3of vaccines

    have gone to people of color—even though they are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 than white Americans.

  • 90million

    people of color need to be vaccinated by the end of 2021 to achieve vaccine equity in the U.S.

Too many people of color that want to get a vaccine don’t know how they’ll access it. An initial poll issued by HIT Strategies in March 2021, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, found that while the majority of people of color in five major U.S. cities (Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Newark, NJ; and Oakland, CA) want to get vaccinated when eligible, nearly two-thirds do not know how they’ll get the vaccine.


By adopting an equity-first approach and working with the people who know their communities best, we can increase vaccine access and confidence for millions of people of color.

Adopting Equity-First Models

The Rockefeller Foundation launched the $20 million Equity-First Vaccination Initiative to demonstrate-and-scale hyper-local, community-led programs to improve vaccine access and accurate information across five cities.

The Foundation invests in community-based organizations through anchor organizations in five U.S. cities: Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Houston, TX; Newark, NJ; and Oakland, CA and national organizations to adopt and scale learnings across the country.


Working with Communities

The anchor organizations in 5 cities will provide resources and support to over 100 community-based organizations who will lead hyper-local community mobilization efforts to increase vaccine access and rollout additional community vaccination sites.

Our investment will also connect these organizations with experts who will provide accurate, evidence-based information to improve their ability each to address questions and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccines.

Best practices and impact-to-date from these equity-first models are synthesized and shared nationally through cross-sector networks, advocacy efforts, convenings, and publications to ensure that the most effective solutions are actively adopted to effectively remove racial vaccination disparities:

  • Knowledge generation: The Foundation will surface barriers and promising solutions observed both nationwide and in our demonstration pilots.
  • Networks: The Foundation will regularly share data and learning with national networks, including the Pandemic Solutions Group (PSG) and the State and Territory Alliance on Testing, to crowd in support from other public, private, and civil society partners to scale models that work.
  • Advocacy: The Foundation will work alongside federal, state, and local governments to further expand awareness about the Initiative’s initial findings and impact as well as advocate for critical policies, targeted resources, and the use of new strategies and tools in order to reach 70 million people of color by July 2021.

Learn more about best practices and insights in our community learning hub.

EVI Learning Hub

  • A vaccination strategy that does not seek to directly combat inequities stands to further entrench them.
    Otis Rolley
    Senior Vice President for the U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative at Rockefeller Foundation
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