ANNAPOLIS, MD—The Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force, led by Maryland National Guard Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead, will work with the state’s 24 local health departments (LHDs) to focus COVID-19 vaccination efforts on underserved, vulnerable, and hard-to-reach populations to ensure the equitable delivery of vaccines.
Each LHD will appoint an equity liaison to coordinate with General Birckhead, and identify solutions to reach key communities in each jurisdiction.
“The Vaccine Equity Task Force is here to make sure every Marylander knows the facts, and facilitates the opportunity for vaccination in underserved communities, vulnerable communities, and at-risk groups. Equity matters,” said General Birckhead. “With targeted investments in education, outreach, and vaccine locations, we can mitigate the impact of inequality on the uptake of vaccines. The equity task force is energized and engaged, and we’re looking forward to working with you and your community.”
Lt. Governor in Prince George’s County for Faith Community Outreach. Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and General Birckhead visited Reid Temple A.M.E. Church in Prince George’s County today for an event promoting vaccine confidence.
Following an appeal to the congregation by Lt. Governor Rutherford, General Birckhead, and church leadership, eligible community members received vaccinations through a partnership with Doctors Community Hospital.
“Events in our nation’s history have made some minority communities reluctant to participate in this vaccination effort. Unfortunately, those communities are among the hardest hit by this pandemic,” said Lieutenant Governor Rutherford. “We are engaging trusted voices in those communities to help address those concerns, and show family members, neighbors, and friends that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and an important tool in preventing more illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
Task Force Membership and Mission. The task force, led by General Birckhead, includes the Office of Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Director Dr. Noel Brathwaite and Deputy Director Dr. Mark Martin, and Assistant Medicaid Director Tricia Roddy.
The task force will leverage resources with close ties to key communities, including the state’s Vaccine Advisory Group, the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, the state’s network of Medicaid providers, and additional public sector and community partners.
In addition to evaluating the county plans and targeting resources at equity-focused vaccination efforts, the task force will serve as a clearinghouse for proposals and requests from nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations seeking to serve vulnerable populations.