DOI: 10.3390/tropicalmed7080177">

Using community engagement and geographic information systems to address COVID-19 vaccination disparities

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Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease


The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing health disparities and had a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minority groups in the United States. Limited COVID-19 data for Asian Americans have led to less attention for this population; nevertheless, available statistics have revealed lesser known impacts of COVID-19 on this population. Even with significant increases in vaccine supply and recent increases in COVID-19 vaccination rates, racial and ethnic disparities in vaccine uptake still persist. These disparities are amplified for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). The purpose of this paper is to apply community-engaged and geographic information system (GIS) strategies to increase equitable access to COVID-19 vaccination uptake by decreasing the structural barriers to COVID-19 vaccine uptake, with a particular focus on Asian Americans with LEP. Building upon existing community-academic partnerships between the academic unit and community-based organizations, the project team established community-led mobile and pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics to reach underserved individuals in their communities, worked with commercial pharmacies and reserved appointments for community-based organizations, used GIS to establish COVID-19 vaccination sites close to communities with the greatest need, and deployed trusted messengers to deliver linguistically and culturally relevant COVID-19 vaccine messages which built vaccine confidence among the community members. The implementation of mobile clinics expanded COVID-19 vaccine access and community-driven, multi-sector partnerships can increase the capacity to enhance efforts and facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccination for hard-to-reach populations.


T.-Y. Wu is a faculty member in EMU's School of Nursing.

X. Yang is a faculty member in EMU's Department of Geography and Geology.

A. J. Rainville and O. Ford are faculty members in EMU's School of Health Sciences.

^S. Lally, R. Bessire, and J. Donnelly are EMU staff members.

Link to Published Version

DOI: 10.3390/tropicalmed7080177