Wisconsin is approaching a milestone in the fight against COVID-19 with nearly half of all residents in the state receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. There are big differences in who gets the vaccine in Wisconsin, however, with individuals from communities of color lagging far behind white Wisconsinites. Just under one in three Hispanics and only one in four African Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine gap is of concern because Hispanics have 1.7 times higher rates of COVID-19 cases and African Americans have 2.1 times higher hospitalization rates. Native Americans have 1.5 times higher death rates from COVID-19.
The Milwaukee Urban League is launching a new program to educate, encourage and identify the need for communities of color to consider the COVID-19 vaccine. In collaboration with 20 partners in the Milwaukee region, as well as our national partners – National Urban League, National Action Network, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the ALL! N The campaign is sharing information about the COVID-19 vaccine and encouraging community members to seriously think about the possibility of receiving the vaccine. Milwaukee Urban League is just one of 25 Urban League affiliates across the country selected to participate in the ALL! N countryside.
A poll commissioned by the National Urban League and the Alliance of National Psychological Associations for Racial and Ethnic Equity found that 30% of African Americans said they did not want to be vaccinated. In collaboration with local partners, the ALL! N The campaign will share information with residents of the Milwaukee area so they can make their personal best choices regarding the vaccine. With just 60% of black-owned businesses expected to survive the pandemic, the ALL! N The campaign will also more widely shed light on how vaccination can be used as a remedy to help Milwaukee recover from the devastating economic impact of the virus on communities of color.
The initiative was created to remind African Americans that collective solutions have served the best interest of our community in the past when seeking substantive change. the ALL! N is a call to action for community members to consider the vaccine and turn to trusted sources – such as the Milwaukee Urban League and our partners – for accurate information. The campaign will strive to provide facts against the misinformation surrounding the vaccine and its distribution process, to reject the false notion of intentionally harmful agents in the vaccine, and to ensure accessibility of the vaccine to people of color.
The campaign will run through the end of 2021 and will include important updates on COVID-19 and information on awareness for the flu season in the fall. For more information on the ALL! N campaign or to join us, contact the Milwaukee Urban League today.
Dr Eve M. Hall is the President and CEO of Milwaukee Urban League
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