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(Washington, D.C.) – During a speech at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., President Joseph R. Biden announced yesterday that the U.S. has secured 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses. The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“We applaud the Biden administration for following through on its early promise to secure additional COVID-19 doses. Americans have suffered far too long from a virus that has again laid bare the country’s systemic inequities in health care, with African Americans and other communities of color once again bearing the disproportionate brunt of the harm. But for the administration and the country to be successful, it must ensure that the vaccines reach the hardest hit communities and populations. Uneven coverage and lack of planning, combined with systemic inequities in infrastructure, have led to numerous ‘vaccine deserts’ that have left the COVID-19 vaccine out of reach for too many.  Our communities must not be relegated to second-class status, especially when it comes to health and protecting lives.”

Background Information:

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law along with 145 medical professionals issued letters to 29 states and the District of Columbia on Tuesday, calling for the collection and publication of race and ethnic demographic data related to COVID-19 vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directs vaccine providers to collect and report racial and ethnic demographic data related to the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Learn more here.