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Distributing the coronavirus vaccine to community health centers has been "critical" to the Biden administration's goal of vaccinating Americans while maintaining racial equity, Cameron Webb, White House senior policy advisor for COVID-19 equity said at an Axios event on Tuesday

What they're saying: Webb said the administration was committed to getting everyone vaccinated but "there's also that long issue of making sure that racial justice is a priority, making sure that we're serving rural communities and a very real and meaningful way."

"As I say, you don't ask a fire to make its way to the water. You bring water to the fire in between these four different venues for vaccination, as we've been able to do. And we're doing it in a way that's always centered on equity," Webb said.

  • "And the data bears that out. These mechanisms have been effective at really getting vaccine to some of the hardest hit communities."
  • "You have to get down to that very grassroots level, understand what communities need, listen to those local leaders because they know best in terms of what the needs and concerns are."

Andy Slavitt, White House senior advisor for COVID-19 response, said, "I don't think I've had a conversation with the president or the vice president where they haven't asked how the things we're doing are affecting the hardest of Americans, people who live in remote places, people who have historically been disadvantaged."

By the numbers: Of the population that has received at least one dose of vaccine as of April 13, nearly two thirds were White (65%), 11% were Hispanic, 9% were Black, 5% were Asian, 1% were American Indian or Alaska Native and less than 1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, according to CDC national data reviewed by Kaiser.

Watch the full event here.

Go deeper

Exclusive: White House pushing vaccine eligibility with media blitz

President Biden after announcing the new deadline for states to set vaccine eligibility. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House is launching a targeted media blitz Monday to promote President Biden’s new deadline for states to make all U.S. residents 16 and older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, an administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: Half of American adults have received their first vaccine dose, but vaccine hesitancy among the remaining population risks the country achieving herd immunity.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans say J&J pause was the right call

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.3% margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Most Americans support the pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and so far there's no evidence that it's leading to broader vaccine hesitancy, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Driving the news: In our weekly national survey, 91% of respondents were aware of the temporary pause recommended by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease for Control and Prevention. Of those, 88% said the pause was a responsible decision.

Apr 19, 2021 - Health

Obama, Shaq and Barkley urge communities of color to get COVID vaccine

A screenshot of former NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and former President Obama on the NBC special. Photo: NBC

Former President Obama and NBA greats Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal joined forces to urge communities of color and young people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 during an NBC special on inoculations, broadcast Sunday.

Why it matters: People of color have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Obama noted during the broadcast that with underlying, pre-existing health conditions being more prevalent in communities of color "we're more vulnerable" to the virus.