The race is on to save lives in the United States as the country intensifies our fight against COVID-19 – and nonprofits are using trust they’ve built over the years, as well as multilingual outreach, collective action, and a focus on equity for healthier communities in this national effort.

As the U.S. slowly returns to some semblance of normal, health officials and advocates remain concerned about vaccination disparities, especially in Black and Brown communities. There are questions about access and past distrust of and racism in the U.S. health system. In Latinx communities, language and immigration enforcement concerns pose barriers to vaccination rates. Vaccination rates for Black and Brown communities, as well as some states, might even lag behind the national benchmark by the Fourth of July, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

All of this makes outreach, support, and information dissemination efforts by the charitable sector even more important, including the United Way, Interfaith Youth Core, UnidosUS, and the YMCA of the USA.

“Our Ys are on the frontlines. We have to do this right,” says Katie Adamson, vice president of health partnerships and policy at the YMCA of the USA. “We’re trusted. We believe people would be comfortable going to a Y to get a vaccination because we are a trusted community organization that people already have a relationship with.”

As part of its effort in this month-long campaign involving the Made to Save coalition, the YMCA is working with pharmacies to support pop-up vaccination clinics, offering free child care at 500 of its branches so parents and caretakers can receive information and shots, and partnering with organizations, including AARP and the National League of Cities.

Also, the YMCA is training youth, particularly in communities of color, to conduct peer-to-peer conversations about the vaccine, the science behind it, and to listen and answer questions.

Read the full article about nonprofits step up to boost U.S. vaccination rates and close disparities by Brad Wong at Independent Sector.