Luján Stresses Importance of Boosting Vaccination Rates in Committee Hearing
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), a member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), participated in a full committee hearing on the federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health challenges that the country faces moving forward.
Senator Luján questioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other federal officials to stress the importance of boosting Hispanic and Native American vaccination rates, combating COVID-19 related disinformation, and working with our international partners to ensure neighboring countries are vaccinated.
“While I’m encouraged that data shows that vaccine rates are increasing across America, still less than half of Hispanics have been vaccinated despite data showing it is the least vaccine-hesitant group,” Luján remarked. “Additionally, when a Hispanic community received outreach in Spanish, it increased vaccination rates. What is the plan to build on the success of using culturally appropriate outreach and messaging to boost Hispanic vaccination rates?”
CDC Director Walensky stressed the importance of using culturally appropriate messaging in all vaccination and health care efforts, including in Hispanic and hard-to-reach communities.
“I wish I could ask the same question of the panel about Native American vaccination, but the IHS [Indian Health Service] is not sharing the data … we do not have state-specific IHS data,” Luján continued. “Many officials have told me they are going to fix this, it has not been fixed. Please fix it, let’s get IHS on board.”