by Sarah Cason, Walgreens Stories
26 February 2021
Leaders from WBA and Walgreens and Chicago Urban League President and CEO Karen Freeman-Wilson discuss why WBA’s Vaccine Equity Initiative is coming at a crucial time in a special LinkedIn Live event.
Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens chief medical officer; and Carlos Cubia, WBA SVP and global chief diversity officer; were joined by Karen Freeman-Wilson, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, to discuss how crucial partnerships are in breaking down barriers to vaccine equity via a LinkedIn Live event on Friday, Feb. 26.

 



















Cubia and Freeman-Wilson explained the origins of vaccine hesitancy and mistrust in the healthcare system among Black and Latinx communities, citing historical atrocities like the Tuskegee Study and a continuing lack of access to quality, affordable healthcare. In efforts to acknowledge and break down these barriers, Cubia points to WBA’s Vaccine Equity Initiative. With the chief goals of education around vaccine safety, broadening access to the vaccine, and formulating meaningful partnerships on the national and local level, the hope is to give Black and Latinx people the tools they need to make informed decisions.

Freeman-Wilson explained how people tend to trust different messengers, be it a pastor, an influencer or an organization like the Chicago Urban League. The League has already taken steps to gather questions from the community around vaccine safety and get specific answers from medical professionals at the city and state level. She expressed excitement to partner with Walgreens and WBA and deliver critical information regarding vaccine equity through social media, traditional media, and even radio in order to formulate trust and deepen education.

Dr. Ban agreed with the idea that individual consultations matter and encouraged patients to speak with their pharmacist if they have any questions regarding the vaccine. He noted that in the early stages of the pandemic, plans were set in motion to place vaccine clinics in underserved communities and the work is ongoing. Pharmacists reach out to eligible patients to assist in setting up vaccine appointments and have educational materials readily available for anyone who needs it. As vaccines become more available through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership, the ability to reach more communities will only strengthen.