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Vermont made all BIPOC eligible for the vaccine before white people

by Christa Heydt-Hernandez, May 25
1 minute read

The population of Vermont has been experiencing overrepresentation in coronavirus cases among minoritized groups and underrepresentation in vaccine uptake among the same population, an experience that has been common among much of the United States. What’s unusual about Vermont’s COVID-19 story is that despite a 94% white, largely rural, politically one of the most liberal states, their Republican governor decided to open a vaccine category specifically for minoritized groups to be among the first eligible to be vaccinated. With the support of organizations trusted in local communities, the move helped increase access and decreased vaccine hesitancy among a high-risk community.

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So what?

This move prioritized the wellbeing of a portion of the population that was inequitably being impacted and employed strategies to reach the population through familiar community locations and groups to increase the awareness, comfort and accessibility for getting vaccinated. Vermont took politics out of the health discussion for the benefit of the population and stood firm against the racist backlash. It exposed issues seen across the country with racism and the delusion white supremacy and can serve as a role model for taking a step against them.

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