Minority Health Month

National Minority Health Monthexternal icon is observed every April to underscore the importance of improving health outcomes for racial and ethnic minority groups. As part of National Minority Health Month, we also highlight the importance of reducing health disparities, which are preventable differences in opportunities to achieve optimal health for people who are disadvantaged by their social or economic status, geographic location, or environment. This year’s theme, Give Your Community a Boost!, focuses on the continued importance of COVID-19 vaccination, including COVID-19 boosters, and sharing credible information as important tools to end the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color.

The Role of Misinformation and Medical Mistrust in COVID-19 Booster Disparities

While about 58% of White, non-Hispanic people in the U.S. have received a COVID-19 booster as of March 2022, this is true for only about 40% of people from American Indian or Alaska Native, black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander communities. You can view the most current race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 vaccination, including boosters.

There are many conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, play, and worship that often disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority groups that create challenges to vaccination access and acceptance. The rapid dissemination of new knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic also led to misinformation (information that is false, inaccurate, or misleading) and vaccine hesitancy.[1] Misinformation, along with mistrust of the healthcare system caused by historical inequities in medical treatment[2] and discrimination,  explains why some people from racial and ethnic minority groups have declined vaccination.

Booster + COVID-19 Safety Measures for Maximum Protection from COVID-19

woman getting vaccine

Although COVID-19 vaccines remain effective in preventing severe infection, hospitalization, and death, studies showpdf icon their effectiveness at preventing infection or severe illness wanes over time and changes for different variants. As a result, CDC recommends a COVID-19 vaccine booster for improved immune response and protection from COVID-19. CDC also recommends additional safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a well-fitting mask indoors when COVID-19 community levels are high, washing hands often, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and testing.

How Communities Can Work to Increase Vaccine and Booster Uptake

This April, CDC partners – including state and local health departments, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and community outreach groups – can play a role in helping our communities stay up to date with the COVID-19 vaccine and accessing trusted and reliable sources of information. Spread the word by visiting HHS’s National Minority Health Month websiteexternal icon to access shareable social media messages, graphics, and information to help you promote the COVID-19 booster and share credible COVID-19 vaccine facts.

Various strategies can help communities increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and achieve equitable access to vaccines, but some may be particularly helpful for individuals with mistrust. A few tips include:

References

[1] Loomba, S., de Figueiredo, A., Piatek, S.J., et al. (2021). Measuring the impact of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on vaccination intent in the UK and USA.external icon Nature Human Behavior, 5, 337–348. http://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-021-01056-1

[2] Institute of Medicine. 2003. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.external icon Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI:

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