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“We were out ahead of public health”: Leading COVID-19 vaccine equity for Black communities across Canada

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This report presents the findings from an NCCDH project to identify barriers and promising approaches to COVID-19 vaccine access, uptake and equity for Black communities.

Analysis of organizing, barriers and interventions

The author, Sume Ndumbe-Eyoh, explores three broad themes in the analysis of her interviews with key informants from across Canada:

  1. In the absence of consistent public health responses, Black communities have been organizing their own COVID-19 responses.
  2. There are a variety of barriers that make it difficult for Black communities to trust the vaccines and the systems promoting them.
  3. A number of approaches to support vaccine uptake and equity have been identified, including (but not limited to):
  • acknowledging historical and contemporary anti-Black racism in the health system;
  • amplifying multisectoral Black community leadership; and
  • developing appropriate communication and education.

Use this resource to

  • understand underlying reasons for vaccine hesitancy and inaccessibility in Black communities and culturally relevant and respectful ways to address them;
  • mobilize your public health organization to incorporate promising practices identified in this report into vaccination program planning and implementation; and
  • connect to Black community leaders to identify opportunities to support, partner and coordinate on community-led and community-specific strategies to improve vaccine uptake and equity.


National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health. (2021). “We were out ahead of public health”: Leading COVID-19 vaccine equity for Black communities across Canada. Antigonish, NS: NCCDH, St. Francis Xavier University.

Tags: Community engagement, COVID-19, Racism/racialization, Report / Document