Be #VaccineReady this National Minority Health Month

Every April, we observe National Minority Health Month by raising awareness about health disparities that affect people in racial and ethnic minority groups. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight these inequities. This National Minority Health Month, learn how to be “vaccine ready” to help protect yourself and others. 

National minority health month - vaccine ready

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to highlight inequities that impact the physical, social, and emotional health of people in some racial and ethnic minority groups. These groups experience disproportionate burdens from COVID-19. Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have led to barriers at all levels of society that put many people, including many people from some racial and ethnic minority groups, at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.

COVID-19 poses additional challenges for people who lack healthcare resources and access to culturally relevant information about getting a COVID-19 vaccination. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an important thing you can do to help protect yourself and others and bring this pandemic to an end.

woman wearing face mask getting vaccine

Ask your healthcare provider about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Take steps to make sure you, your family, and your community are “vaccine ready.”

  • Get the facts about COVID-19 vaccines. Everyone should have access to trustworthy vaccine information. CDC’s website explains COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and safety and provides information for specific groups. Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Share accurate vaccine information. Confidence in the vaccines leads to more people getting vaccinated, which leads to fewer COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. Help your friends and family address their uncertainty with clear and understandable information. CDC’s Vaccinate with Confidence strategy reinforces CDC’s activities to increase confidence in COVID-19 vaccines by building trust that patients, parents, or providers have in recommended vaccines;​ providers who administer vaccines; and processes and policies that lead to vaccine development, licensure, manufacturing, and recommendations for use.​
  • Get vaccinated when you are eligible. Learn how to register for vaccination. Once you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can begin to do many of the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
  • Practice COVID-19 safety measures. Because of the new COVID-19 variants and many people are not yet vaccinated, it is critical to continue taking precautions to prevent COVID-19 in many situations, including in public. Wear a mask, stay six feet apart, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash hands often.

Advancing Health Equity to Address COVID-19 and Beyond

Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally. Focused and ongoing efforts are needed to address avoidable inequities and historical and contemporary injustices and eliminate health and healthcare disparities. Health disparities exist across a wide range of health conditions. Reducing and eliminating health disparities is important to achieving health equity and building a healthier nation. CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) advances health equity and women’s health issues across the nation through CDC’s science and programs.

CDC developed a Health Equity Strategypdf icon to improve the health outcomes of groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and partnered with other federal agencies and health departments to highlight the importance of including health equity practices in their work. To move toward greater health equity, we must work together to ensure everyone can easily get answers to their possible questions about COVID-19 vaccines.

Did You Know? CDC is committed to achieving health equity – where everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible. For the COVID-19 response, CDC is using Health Equity Strategy to guide the agency in reducing health disparities. Let’s work together to ensure all people have resources to manage their health – easy access to information, affordable testing, and medical care. Data-driven approaches. Community engagement. Culturally & linguistically responsive outreach. Stigma reduction. Join us in ensuring health equity

Minority Health Month, Health Equity, Health Disparities, and OMHHE Explained

Without health and long life, all else fails.

Dr. Booker T. Washington

Recognizing that health is the key to progress and equity in all other things, Dr. Booker T. Washington proposed the observance of “National Negro Health Week” in April 1915. He called on local health departments, schools, churches, businesses, professional associations, and the most influential organizations in the African American community to “pull together” and “unite… in one great National Health Movement.” That observance grew into today’s month-long initiative to advance health equity across the country on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities — National Minority Health Month.external icon

What is Health Equity? Health equity is achieved when everyone has the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

What are Health Disparities? Health disparities are particular types of health differences among population groups and communities that are closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage.

Why is Health Equity Important? Health is central to human happiness and well-being and is affected by where people live, learn, work, and play. According to the World Health Organization, health also makes an important contribution to economic progress.

What does CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) do? OMHHE’s mission is to advance health equity and women’s health issues across the nation through CDC’s science and programs, and increase CDC’s capacity to leverage its diverse workforce and engage stakeholders toward this end.

Page last reviewed: March 31, 2021