“The problem right now is that it’s being talked about so much as a choice,” says Brunson, who points out that white Republican-voting men are particularly reluctant to get vaccinated relative to the rest of the US population. “Focusing on things that are choices takes away the spotlight from really severe access issues in the US.”
One success story took place in Philadelphia, thanks to an effective collaboration between two health systems and Black community leaders. Recognizing that the largely online signup process was hard for older people or those without internet access, Penn Medicine and Mercy Catholic Medical Center created a text-message-based signup system as well as a 24/7 interactive voice recording option that could be used from a land line, with doctors answering patients’ questions before appointments. Working with community leaders, the program held its first clinic at a church and vaccinated 550 people.