COVID-19 Equity Task Force Update: February 2021

by Andrea Guzman, Workforce Development Coordinator

The New Hampshire COVID-19 Equity Task Force continues to meet every two weeks, and we want to keep you up-to-date on activities. The task force is convened as a partnership of NHPHA and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Health Equity and Division of Public Health Services. The task force is a collective of close to 60 individuals and organizations across NH representing multiple sectors and communities that have come together to address issues of equity arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and response.

The task force has continued to be engaged in the process of advocating for equitable vaccine distribution by ensuring that the COVID-19 vaccine reaches those disproportionately affected based on geography, the Social Vulnerability Index, or another index.

In early January, the Equity Task Force attended the COVID-19 Vaccine Training for Community Leaders, hosted by our partners at the Division of Public Health Services. This training focused on the current data regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, how the mRNA process of the vaccine works, how to address vaccine concerns in the community, how to relay this information to their community, and DPHS’s work to remove barriers to access.

As January comes to a close, New Hampshire is moving into Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout, which includes persons ages ≥65, the medically vulnerable, intellectual and developmental disability residential facilities, correctional facility staff, and remaining health workers and first responders.

The task force will continue to meet with DPHS to share the concerns they hear in their communities pertaining to vaccine rollout and distribution. The task force will also continue to identify other community issues in equity and will work toward addressing those issues.

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