How to Ensure the COVID-19 Vaccine Protects Black and LatinX Communities

Originally published by: JSI
Originally published on: July 29, 2020

Bisola Ojikutu


JSI senior consultant and JSI Research & Training board member Bisola O. Ojikutu has published two opinion pieces on the impending COVID-19 vaccines and their potential effect on Black and Latinx communities.

In the Washington Post, Bisola joined Julie H. Levinson and Kathryn E. Stephenson to look at the inequities that communities of color will face in accessing a COVID-19 vaccine. Given that the rate of COVID-19 fatalities among Black Americans is more than twice that of whites, the authors recommend six steps to improve trust and awareness of the vaccine among Black and Latinx individuals before it is developed. “Starting now is the best way to make sure that those who most need a COVID-19 vaccine can trust it, afford it, acquire it, and be protected by it,” the authors write.

A COVID-19 vaccine has the power to protect millions of people and strengthen community resilience to infection in the United States. It will not do that without the inclusion of diverse populations. In StatNewsBisola and Kathryn write that inclusion of Black and Latinx individuals in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials is imperative to ensure that vaccines will protect the people who are most at risk of infection. While most medical trials intend to incorporate a diverse group of participants, there are barriers to achieving that goal. Bisola and Kathryn lay out specific steps to promote equitable representation in COVID-19 vaccine trials. 

Calling out racism at the root of health inequities is nothing new for Bisola. Read her latest blog on why we cannot return to the status quo.

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