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New Coalition Demands Racial Equity In State Vaccine Rollout

A woman walks through the front entrance of the Reggie Lewis Center to be immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A woman walks through the front entrance of the Reggie Lewis Center to be immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Civil rights and immigrant activists started a new coalition Wednesday to call attention to the racial inequities in the coronavirus vaccine rollout in Massachusetts.

The Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition says it will issue five demands to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to address the disparities later Wednesday.

The coalition, which also includes elected officials and public health experts, says white residents have received 12 times more doses than Black residents and 16 times more doses than Latinx residents.

Baker’s office didn’t respond to an email seeking comment, but the coalition’s launch comes a day after the administration launched its latest effort to address the pandemic in the state's hardest-hit cities and towns.

On Tuesday, Baker announced an outreach effort in 20 communities, including Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester.

The initiative, which includes hiring local residents for neighborhood and business outreach, is meant to increase awareness of the vaccine’s safety and reduce barriers to vaccination.

Carlene Pavlos, co-chair of the new coalition and executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, told The Boston Globe the effort is a step in the right direction, but “not sufficient or comprehensive enough.”

Other members of the coalition include the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Immigrants Assistance Center, Lawyers for Civil Rights, the ACLU, and the NAACP.

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