February 18, 2021
Accessible, Equitable, Context-Specific Information on COVID-19 Vaccines Are Focus of New $3.5 Million Information Equity Program
GHC3 to Fill Gaps in Vaccine Acceptance with Funding from CDC, Task Force for Global Health
ATLANTA – With a recent $3.5 million award, the Global Health Crisis Coordination Center (GHC3) and their partners have launched COVIED (COvid Vaccines Information Equity and Demand creation), an information equity program to ensure COVID-19 vaccine information is accurate, trusted, context-specific, and equally accessible for all communities and demographics in the U.S. The initiative is funded by the Centers for Disease Control in partnership with The Task Force for Global Health.
“It is clear that a ‘one-size fits all’ approach for communication will not effectively ensure that those who are at disproportionate risk of COVID will accept immunization,” said Dr. Robert Breiman, GHC3’s Chief Science Officer, Professor of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at Emory University, and Project Director for COVIED. “This project will fill gaps in equitable access to information on vaccines, leading to vaccine acceptance, which will reduce illness, save lives, and get us back to productive, social, and economic activities.”
“Decision-making in a crisis is different and communities are experiencing this pandemic differently,” said Brandy Mai, GHC3 Director of Public Information. “The waves of the pandemic create heightened moments of crisis that, when added to the generations of racial, historical, and cultural experiences, make it even more critical that we consider these complex lenses when building, implementing, and adapting effective community engagement. Failure to gain acceptance of vaccines and achieve equitable access will represent a tragic public health failure.”
There are disproportionate risks for COVID-associated illness, hospitalization, and death among people who are linked to systemic social injustices and underlying medical conditions. However, many people within communities at disproportionate risk for COVID-19, may also not accept immunization without communication that resonates and gains trust.
“As we continue to weather the multi-layered challenges of this pandemic, we’ve learned that our region’s economic recovery is tied directly to tackling public health challenges head on while also addressing systemic issues around racial equity,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Reaching citizens in every community with the COVID-19 vaccine will be crucial for a successful recovery in the short term and for equitable and inclusive economic growth into the future.”
COVIED will follow a systematic, multi-stage process aimed to identify those susceptible populations in the U.S. demonstrating COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and also most at risk for COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death. COVIED will also provide tailored messaging to these populations through community engagement and widespread message dissemination.
GHC3 will have primary oversight responsibility for project implementation. Dr. Robert Breiman, Emory University faculty and Chief Science Officer for GHC3 will serve as Program Director and Principal Investigator, and Dr. Daniel Salmon, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Drs. Walt Orenstein and Jim Lavery, Emory University will serve as Co-Principal Investigators., Dr Lavery will oversee the ethnography and stakeholder engagement Dr Salmon at JHU will lead message development and strategies for dissemination, working with a variety of academic and non-profit partners, including the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), NACCHO, ASTHO, and AIM.
The Global Health Crisis Coordination Center (GHC3) connects private sector resources to public sector and healthcare needs for COVID-19 and other healthcare crises around the globe, By harnessing the power of the private sector’s technology, logistics, and innovation, GHC3 is able to augment government response to high-priority challenges. GHC3 is a division of the Center for Global Health Innovation.