According to an analysis by Politico, disadvantaged communities are being bypassed in the race to get vaccinated against COVID-19, with just 5 percent of the doses going to Black Americans and only 11 percent to Latinx recipients. 

“This pandemic has really exposed the failures of our health care system,” said Rep.  Raul Ruiz, (D-Calif.) a physician who represents a district with many Latino farmworkers with limited health care. “We cannot rely on this health care system to address equity… We are only going to continue to fail. And we see that now with  the vaccine distribution.” 

One of the problems has been a lack of data that tracks race and ethnicity within state populations.  As of mid-January, only 17 states had shared race and ethnicity data on who is getting vaccinated – and this information was often incomplete. 

We know that access to quality health care in this country is unequal, unfair, and unacceptable to vulnerable populations.  Today, this inequity is literally a matter of life and death. 

NOW welcomed the Biden Administration’s appointment of Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith as chair of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force.  She has pledged to not only target medical resources and relief funds to vulnerable communities, but also to address the underlying social and economic conditions that put them at risk. 

In this interview with the New York Times, Dr. Nunez-Smith talks about her vision for addressing the crisis in racial disparities in health care.  The article cites what she told reporters after the White House announced the members of the task force: 

Make no mistake about it — beating this pandemic is hard work. And beating this  pandemic while making sure that everyone in every community has a fair chance to  stay safe or to regain their health, well, that’s the hard work and the right work.” 

NOW remains steadfast in our commitment to racial justice and equity, and in doing the hard work of social and political change.  Our continuing series of listening sessions, convened by NOW and Black Women’s Blueprint, sets forth a vision for the first 100 Days of a feminist agenda through an intersectional lens. 

And we’ve always relied on data, research, and policy initiatives to advance our multi-issue, multi-strategy agenda.  Facts matter, and truth matters.  

And that’s why NOW matters.