Experts discuss reaching marginalized populations with COVID-19 vaccine in U.S. PIRG-organized panel

Addressing vaccine hesitancy and its roots is a pivotal as the nation races to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus.

Addressing vaccine hesitancy and its roots is a pivotal as the nation races to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus.

On Jan. 21, U.S. PIRG and Doctors for America hosted a panel of health experts to discuss strategies for overcoming the impacts of systemic racism and socio-economic disparities on vaccine hesitancy.

The panelists discussed issues of trust in the medical system, of access to vaccine sites and of how information around vaccination is conveyed, with particular focus on how they affect historically marginalized communities.

"The whole conversation around trusted messengers is important, it's something I believe in, but I feel like it's almost become a bit of a cliche where it's become a way of papering over much deeper problems that you really have to acknoweldge and that you really have to provide real responses to, real fixes for," said Céline Gounder, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at NYU and a former member of the Biden-Harris transition team's COVID-19 task force.

The panel is the second in a series of expert discussions covering topics of COVID-19 vaccination hosted by U.S. PIRG.

Watch the full discussion.

Read more about our COVID response.

Photo: (Clockwise from top left) Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD Senior Fellow at Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Adjunct Associate Professor at Morehouse School of Medicine; Brian Williams, MD, Associate Professor of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery at the University of Chicago; Abraar Karan, MD, MPH, DTM&H, Harvard Medical School; Shalini Pammal, Strategy Director for Doctors for Biden; Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at NY, former member of the Biden-Harris transition team's COVID-19 Task Force. Credit: Staff