Partnering With the Faith-Based Community to Address Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination Rates and Outcomes Among US Black and Latino Populations
Leveraging a network of 150 000 churches to advance the public’s health could prove to be a potent national model for eliminating Black and Latino racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care across the US.
JAMA August 17, 2021 Volume 326, Number 7
- Anthony Evans, MDiv National Black Church Initiative, Washington, DC.
- Joseph Webster, MD. National Black Church Initiative, Washington, DC.
- Glenn Flores, MD. Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida; and Holtz Children's Hospital, Jackson Health System, Miami, Florida. Department of Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, 1601 NW 12th Ave, 9th Floor, Miami, FL33136 glennflores at miami.edu
The coalition is attempting to eliminate many race disparities
They should consider distributing bottles of Vitamin D to their churches.
The churches could hand out emergency packets of vitamin D
The Vitamin D would be taken at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms.
This emergency Vitamin D appears to reduce the risk of serious COVID-19 by 3X
It may cost less than $50 of Vitamin D to save a life
Items in VitaminDWiki in both categories Virus and Dark Skin:
- Virus and Dark Skin in VitaminDWiki
- US coalition of Black and Latino churches hope to reduce the 3X COVID-19 disparity - Aug 2021
- COVID-19 mortality for Blacks is 5X that for whites in 2 LA Hospitals - July 2021
- Low vitamin D associated with increased COVID-19 risk (in this case black women 1.7X) – July 2021
- COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the US, especially in those with dark skins - April 1, 2021
- Prefer 40 – 60 ng of Vitamin D to minimize COVID-19 – March 17, 2021
- 26 health factors increase the risk of COVID-19 – all are associated with low vitamin D
- Those with recent cancer diagnosis had 7X increased risk of COVID-19 (more if A-A )- Dec 2020
- Healthcare workers at higher risk of COVID-19 if low vitamin D, especially if dark skin – Dec 2020
- Shift workers 2X more likely to get COVID-19 (low Vitamin D) - Dec 2020
- COVID-19 was killing dark-skinned doctors, then they got a Vitamin D recommendation
- COVID-19 antibodies 2.6 X more likely if had symptoms and low vitamin D (UK hospital staff)– Oct 5 2020
- Vitamin D could knock out COVID-19 in 3 months – Dr. Matthews interview Oct 2020
- Rate of COVID-19 test positive is 40 pcnt lower if high vitamin D (192,000 people) - Holick Sept 2020
- COVID-19 increased: 3.5 if Ultra-Orthodox, 2.6X if dark skin (52,000 Israelis) - Sept, 2020
- COVID-19 is harder for those with dark skins - perhaps due to low vitamin D – April 24, 2020
- COVID-19 more frequent and deadly for those with dark skins (high risk of low vitamin D)
- Indications of increase COVID-19 problems if dark skin in the UK- April 3 2020
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) document that Black and Latino individuals in the US are 3 times more likely than White individuals to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from the disease.1 Of the US population of approximately 330 million individuals, more than 100 million are Black or Latino individuals, who comprise 32%.2 Nevertheless, Black and Latino individuals account for only 25% of the 184 million people in the US who have received at least 1 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, whereas White individuals account for 59% of those who have received the vaccine.3 Similarly, Black and Latino individuals comprise only 24% of the 159 million persons in the US who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, whereas White individuals account for 60% of those fully vaccinated.3
The proportion of White individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccine (47%) is about 1.4 times higher than the proportion of Black individuals (34%) and 1.2 times the proportion of Latino individuals (39%) who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.4 A consistent pattern continues with communities of these racial and ethnic minority groups having substantially lower vaccination rates in relation to their share of the population and their overrepresentation among COVID-19 infections and deaths.
In California, Latino individuals have received only
- 29% of COVID-19 vaccinations, although they account for
- 63% of those with COVID-19, 48% of deaths related to COVID-19, and
- 40% of the state's total population.4
In the District of Columbia, Black individuals have received
- 43% of vaccinations, but comprise
- 56% of those with COVID-19,
- 71% of deaths related to COVID-19, and
- 46% of the total population.4
Several factors appear to be driving these concerning and unacceptable disparities in COVID-19 vaccination. Decades of published research has documented that Black and Latino individuals have substantially worse access to primary care and specialty care and are much more likely to lack health insurance than White individuals. As the medical literature and recent events, such as the George Floyd killing, have underscored, systemic racism continues to be a major challenge for the US health care system and for US society. In addition, Black and Latino individuals have understandably low levels of trust in the federal government and medical care due to egregious past events involving ethically unacceptable studies and programs such as the US Public Health Service and CDC 40-year Tuskegee Study of Black men with untreated syphilis, unethical development of the HeLa cell line from Henrietta Lacks without her permission, and decades of forced sterilization of Latina women in Puerto Rico and California. It is not surprising, therefore, that myth-based concerns exist among these communities that deter their willingness to receive COVID-19 vaccination, such as beliefs that these vaccines contain microchips to track Black individuals or that the vaccine registration process will be used to deport Latino individuals.
How is it possible to overcome the triple burdens of impaired access to care,
- systemic racism, and
- distrust of the federal government
- and health care systems
to eliminate COVID-19 vaccine disparities among Black and Latino communities? A promising and powerful strategy is to partner with the faith-based community, a highly trusted resource and frequent central gathering place for communities that are composed of racial and ethnic minority populations. The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 150 000 Black and Latino churches aiming to eradicate racial and ethnic disparities in
- health care,
- housing, and the
The mission of the NBCI is to provide critical wellness information to all members, congregants, churches, and the public.
In 2021, NBCI announced a 5-year plan that offers the CDC its 150 000 Black and Latino churches across the US as vaccination centers. The plan will include a national advisory committee of 9 prominent Black and Latino physicians who have evaluated the effectiveness of each COVID-19 vaccine; will leverage approximately 1000 Black and Latino US medical professionals to administer vaccines; and will mobilize several million volunteers to raise awareness among and communicate to underserved communities, provide transportation to vaccination centers, and ensure that communities of racial and ethnic minority populations obtain their second vaccinations (when indicated). The NBCI plan has been designed to seamlessly integrate with the efforts of local and state governments and health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Risk for COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death by race/ethnicity. Updated July 16, 2021. Accessed July 12, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-race-ethnicity.html#print
- US Census Bureau. Characteristics of the group quarters population in the United States: American Community Survey: 2019: ACS 1-year estimates subject tables. Accessed July 12, 2021. https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=S2601A&tid=ACSST1Y2019.S2601A
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Demographic characteristics of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. Accessed July 11, 2021. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccination-demographic
- Ndugga N, PhamO, Hill L, Artiga S, Alam R, Parker N. Latest data on COVID-19 vaccinations by race/ethnicity. Kaiser Family Foundation. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/#
- National Black Church Initiative. Accessed July 14, 2021. https://www.naltblackchurch.com/
2011 book at their website by Emily Allison-Francis
Correcting the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic: Strategies to Fight Diseases and Prolong Life for Black People