STATEMENT FROM THE BALTIMORE SAVING LIVES CAMPAIGN ENDING VACCINE APARTHEID
As community leaders and organizations we have come together to form a “Baltimore Saving Lives Campaign”. We both seek to expose and highlight the problem of the disparity in vaccine distribution and put forward solutions.
It is no secret that the Black, Brown and poor communities of Baltimore have been left behind. The facts are there and the urgency is real. In the last year the life expectancy for Black people has dropped a full 2.7 years. Due to COVID, this is the first time in U.S. history that we have seen such a sharp decline.
We will work with everyone who is interested in doing the work so that our most vulnerable elders, those without digital access, without transportation, low wage and essential workers, in public housing, in the streets, and those who are being forgotten in the patchwork of confusing delivery systems, get the vaccine.
Our goal is to see that everyone who wants a vaccine gets a vaccine. Our goal is to beat COVID in Baltimore.
From the very start, those most in need have been pushed to the back of the line due primarily to the method that vaccines have been rolled out. Complex, confusing and impossible internet sign ups, phone lines that people are unable to get through, lack of transportation and lack of vaccine allocation to actual city residents.
Our proposals are based on that larger goal. We MUST be proactive and think beyond the initial roll out which has been a failure. A failure that has obviously left out the people of Baltimore. We need to prepare now not wait!
These are our initial proposals:
INCLUDE M & T SITE FOR BALTIMORE RESIDENTS FIRST
ALLOCATE MORE VACCINES TO CLOSE THE DISPARITY
ONE DEDICATED 24 HOUR CITY HOTLINE TO SCHEDULE VACCINES BASED ON 311 MODEL WITH ADEQUATE STAFFING
PLAN TO EXTEND HOURS FOR ALL SITES
DOOR TO DOOR VACCINATIONS
ACCESSIBLE COMMUNITY VACCINATION CENTERS
Churches & Closed Recreation Centers
Coppin State University - West Baltimore
Men’s and Family Center - East Baltimore
The zip code priorities set at the Convention Center site have left off many of the major housing projects including Douglas Homes. With the detection of the virus at Latrobe Homes, it is urgent that the City and State set up mobile units to cover each area.
We will provide a list of public housing units.
FREE UBER TRANSPORTATION
Baltimore County is already providing free uber transportation
EXPAND CATEGORIES BASED ON NEED
The City has the ability to use it’s own guidelines based on the fact that many of our residents are at greater risk. For instance, the COVID death rate for Black, Latinx and low wage and essential workers is higher, regardless of age. In Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Browser lowered the age for vaccinations in heavily Black wards based on the fact that death rates for the Black population were higher and that the life expectancy for the Black community was shorter. We must think out of the box, including exploring other vaccine sources if needed.
HOMELESS & PEOPLE WITH ADDICTIONS
Plans must be made now so that we can immediately go into action when one-shot vaccines are delivered. Many states have already begun using the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
While the prison system is run primarily by the State, a large percentage of the population that are incarcerated are from Baltimore City. We must strongly advocate that all prisoners be vaccinated and have adequate PPE.
LOW WAGE AND ESSENTIAL WORKERS NOT FORMERLY COVERED
Many of these workers suffer from underlying health conditions; yet they are forced to go to work with no protection. This includes grocery workers, retail clerks, fast food and restaurant workers, bus drivers and many others. Let’s get them vaccinated as soon as possible.
Involve the unions in making plans to protect their workers.
LISTEN TO OUR TEACHERS, NOT UNTIL ITS SAFE
WEEKLY BRIEFINGS WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS ON PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS
We are urging weekly briefings with the Saving Our Lives Campaign and others with representatives of the City and State, including the Baltimore City Health Department, representatives of the Mayor’s Office, the Governor and the National Guard. These briefings should be open to the press.
We are developing a volunteer network of students, doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, EMT & firefighters who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get the work done now. Please text us at 410-218-4835.
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