Breaking down information barriers key to supporting communities of color through COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine efforts

HARRISBURG, March 11 – Trust and inclusive policies are key in getting COVID-19 vaccines distributed to communities of color and members of the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from multiple researchers, doctors and advocates on how to execute those strategies.

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus Chair Donna Bullock, and Subcommittee on Health Equity and Justice Chair Stephen Kinsey hosted the hearing generating meaningful discussion on how lawmakers can be part of the solution to ensure communities of color receive the health care they need as it relates to COVID-19, vaccination, mental health support and basic human needs.

“We must utilize trusted messengers to help us convey that vaccines are safe and encourage Pennsylvanians to get a vaccine when available to them. I was honored to partner with the House Democratic Policy Committee to share the struggles of communities of color, the challenges that existed long before the pandemic, and how we can make strides in addressing equity and fairness in housing, health care, digital access and more,” Bullock said.

Kinsey, D-Phila., added: “Collaboration and trust will be imperative to give black and brown communities the tools necessary to make it through this pandemic safely. There are underlying issues that have impacted our communities and create additional challenges, but I firmly believe we can work together to implement campaigns that inform our neighbors, family and friends and help them feel comfortable getting vaccinated. The Northwest COVID-19 Coalition will continue to inform the community and I hope our coalition can serve as a model for other communities looking to strengthen their outreach efforts.”

Calling for addressing inadequacies in housing, food insecurity, technology and health disparities were all part of the discussion. Legislators from across the state advocated for marketing and outreach efforts for Spanish language speakers to help build bridges of information and trust.

“I am honored to have the committee generate discussion on meaningful solutions that will help address inequities across the state. I have the utmost respect for the unique experiences Pennsylvania’s communities of color experience. Listening and having a forum for improved policies is essential,” said Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee.  

A full list of today’s testifiers, hearing video, agenda and testimony are available at